What’s Inside –
This afternoon I burned old collected limbs which had fallen this past winter. Along with twigs and branches, there was a stack of large limbs that I cut up last year when part of a big tree was torn down by a thunderstorm. They had finally dried out enough where they would burn quickly. It didn’t take long to have a large fire burning brightly and hot! After a while, there wasn’t much left of the burn pile but red, orange, and blue scorching ashes. Before heading to the house I took a water bottle that was almost half filled with water and laid it on the hot embers. I watched as it shrunk, popped the top off and melted the places of the bottle where there wasn’t any water. However, where there was water the plastic didn’t melt. I watched as the water inside began to boil but the plastic wasn’t consumed. Because of the water inside the plastic didn’t melt outside. It was awesome to watch and wait to see how long it lasted. Finally, of course, the water evaporated and the plastic shriveled by the flames but it took longer than it should have given the power of the heat and flame.
It was a wonderful reminder that what’s inside; our spirit, emotions, mentality, don’t just protect what can’t be seen but also protects the outside, what we can see; our health, bodies, and relationships.
All that’s Left –
A nasty cold front moved through our area last night and it is cold outside today! The temps haven’t ventured out of the 20’s with a stiff wind and layer of ice covering the places rain fell as the temperatures plummeted.
As the arctic blast forced its way through Tennessee mighty winds shook the big Oak tree just outside our front door. For several hours we’d hear crashes on the tin covering our front porch or in the yard. Each time we’d grab the flashlight, peek outside and see another dead limb had fallen. Our Oak tree for all its beauty, has many branches, big and small, no longer alive that need to come down and the storm, for all its ferocity, did a good job at shaking these limbs from their place among the live ones.
As I stood outside today, letting the dog run, sniff and explore the patches of ice that litters the ground, I thought about life and the storms we face. Most often we do not welcome storms, we do not ask to be shaken, blown back and forth. We like stillness, security and the sense our lives are not in danger of being knocked over. However, if we are self-aware we also recognize that many times it takes these unwanted storms to rid us of the dead, unneeded things of life. The winds may threaten to topple us but they also dislodge places in which we’re stuck.
All that’s left from the storm last night is picking up the branches in the yard. May it also be this way in our lives.
Sunday evening a mighty storm of wind and rain blew through our area. The next morning there were several limbs in the yard and a HUGE one in the middle of the driveway. Late this afternoon I gathered them up and made a bonfire. The BIG limb required being cut up into smaller pieces in order to carry it. When I finally finished gathering all the debris I sat down and enjoyed the warm flame as the sun began to set.
Watching the flickering orange flames devour the limbs, I thought about the storm. Oftentimes in life, when storms blow through, leaving downed dreams and crushed hopes in their paths, we wonder where to start with the clean up and how anything good can come from the mess. Wisdom tells we begin by simply picking up the pieces and trust that even the mightiest winds and rains cannot quench our life’s fire without permission.