Tending a Fire
by Jackie Woods
I have been heating my house with a wood burning stove for 23 years. At first my husband kept the fire burning, but since his death the role has fallen to me. Never did I ever dream I would learn so much by tending a fire.
When I forget to bring the wood in the night before the rain comes, the fire and I fight. One morning I had to restart the fire three times before it stayed lit. Since water symbolizes the emotions to me and fire represents the heart, that script warns me to dry my tears if I want to hear the heart. Yes, water helps to grow the trees, but when it comes time for the fire to burn, the wood needs to be ready to receive the fire.
Another important lesson I have gleaned from tending my fire is that stacking the right size wood, as well as the right amount of wood, increases the speed of the fire starting. When I look at the symbolism this holds for me, I am reminded that for my heart to have the brightest fire of love I need to be open to the different sizes and amounts of heart offerings coming my way.
When I fail to be aware of the size and amount of love I am offered, and try to go it alone, I am much like a single stick of wood trying to ignite. And, yes, there is worth in independence, but not if I intend for the fire to have endurance. Thus, the fire has taught yet another lesson about the value of joining. While throwing one piece of wood into the stove may keep the fire going awhile, it will not have endurance.
And last but not least, I have learned that tending a fire requires tuning into its rhythm. The size of the wood, the humidity of the day, the wind velocity. All these things contribute to the rhythm of the fire. Tending my heart’s fire is much the same. My emotional state and the activity of my mind all contribute to the rhythm of my heart’s activity.
While you may not tend to a wood burning stove, the fires of love are always available to ignite your heart. So tend to that fire as diligently as you would one of wood.