Part 1 – Risking
I was reading a book the other day, when this phrase struck me: “Life is like a candle in the wind”. Of course, it’s hard to say those words in my mind without hearing Elton John’s voice in the background. Nevertheless, the words stuck with me for several days, and have had the little brain cells scurrying around quite a bit.
Every step of every day, we’re surrounded by creation and destruction, birthing and dying. As I type these words, the last of the leaves have fallen from most of the trees here in Colorado – some of them wrenched off in the snowstorm we had last week. The air is full of that wonderful smell that autumn surrounds us with, as the high plains tuck themselves in for the winter.
A couple weeks ago, the birds were tearing through the seed in my feeders at a voracious rate, as those migrating south use my place as a fueling station. Some of those birds will make it, some won’t. Just yesterday there was a Goldfinch on the ground below the feeders. He seemed too exhausted to fly. When I went to him to try and lift him to the feeder so he could rest there and eat, he scurried beneath some Hyssop. I want to believe he’ll make it, but he might not.
Several weeks ago, when my brother and I were driving some back roads in Kansas, we came across a group of trees draped in butterflies – there must have been tens of thousands of them. I imagine they gather on the trees and rest until the right wind comes up, then they probably get up into the wind and let it blow them south. On the ground was the evidence that not all the butterflied would make it – the same wind that took their comrades south to safety would take the flame of life from a few.
We’re surrounded by flames of life. Each of us is just one of those flames. We like to think of ourselves as particularly special – flames that are more important that the millions of other flames around us.
But to be special, don’t we need to let the flame of our life burn openly and brightly, where it adds encouragement to those around us? And in doing so, we expose it to the wind that could blow it out in an instant. It’s the paradox of the Flame of Life – it’s meant to burn openly and brightly, which means it’s always at risk.