I was thinking today about an incident that happened a few years ago. We lived in Wisconsin at the time and our house was in the middle of quite a few very old, very large trees. Maple, Oak, and… oh who am I kidding? Big old trees, I have no idea what kind. I do know that those trees grew a lot of leaves and in the Fall, much to our chagrin, they would drop their leaves. Everywhere. I bet you didn’t think you were going to get such an in-depth science lesson here today, did you?
As I was saying, leaves. Leaves! We were covered in leaves every Fall. So of course we had no choice but to burn those leaves, which is what Kyle and I chose to do one day. My husband Julian, in preparation, had made an impressive pile of leaves, sticks, and twigs in the fire pit in the backyard. Although we still had mounds surrounding the fire pit that were two and three feet high.
Because we could not find the lighter fluid anywhere my sweet son suggested what most fifteen year-olds would suggest, “I’ll use gasoline.”
I couldn’t think of an alternative quickly enough so that is exactly what he used. But no worries because I was standing by to limit the amount. When I said enough, he stopped. Then as he put the gas can down, I thought about its location and told him to put it a little farther away from the fire. Again he obeyed. We’re nothing if not cautious, you see.
I bet you have no idea where I’m going with this little tale.
Within seconds of tossing the lit match into the fire pit, flames had completely engulfed my son. With one foot still in the fire pit, the flames were literally surrounding him to the point that I couldn’t see him for what seemed forever but in reality was probably a second or two. The burn marks on the ground afterwards were three feet past where he had stood at the time. I screamed and could do little else. The explosion rocked the house which made Niko, my oldest son who had been inside filling out college applications, come running outside. He later said he was just sure his family had been killed in the explosion. I managed to turn my eyes toward the back door but that was the extent of my abilities. I could not move one muscle in my body. I just stood there frozen.
A screaming, frozen woman is really not a lot of help when the back yard is on fire.
Kyle was completely unharmed. Thank you, Jesus. Not a hair on his head, not his clothes, nothing was touched by those flames that had completely overtaken him. The mounds of leaves around the fire pit went up in flames quickly though and those flames ran in different directions even quicker.
As I stood frozen, Kyle yelled to get the hose. Niko turned on the water and like the tin man who had finally been oiled I was able to move again in time to get the hose to Kyle. Niko grabbed a bucket and hurriedly filled it inside the house then ran with it to the flames. Back and forth he ran while Kyle sprayed the flames with the hose. And all the while he kept looking back at me with a beautiful smile on his face saying, “I could be a firefighter! I could!”
God is so good!
And composting didn’t sound too bad to me after that little episode either.
The point of this tale, you ask?
Fire showed me its power that day. Raging flames from just a spark and how rapidly it spreads overtaking everything in its path. And so it is with love.
When we come to know the love of God, when we become completely engulfed by it, His love overtakes everything in our path. Everyone we come in contact with is touched by that love.
At least this, I believe, is as He meant it to be. His love as a fire burning in each of us: lighting our path, filling our lives with warmth, even removing the dry, lifeless brush that hinders the beauty of life.
May His love burn brightly in each of us today just as He meant it to.