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We had our first little “bonfire” over the weekend. Though I’ve built plenty of fires in my lifetime, it’s been a while since I’ve built one outside for roasting marshmallows and warming a crowd over a long period of time. We needed to keep the fire going over a four-hour stretch and laughably, my plan was to buy the pre-cut logs at Walmart and call it a day.
I thought I had plenty of wood until about two hours in.
The sun was down and it was becoming increasingly chilly when I threw the last few logs on the fire. There were two hours left in the party, the temperature was quickly dropping, and there was no more wood. We had nearly 60 seventh graders running all-around and the fire was supposed to be the gathering place. These kids had s’mores to roast!
We needed to keep that fire burning.
I started to feel like a novice and a failure. How could I have thought that amount of wood could last all night? Just as I was beginning to think it was the end, it suddenly occurred to me that there are probably more than ten houses in the framing stage all around the neighborhood, with trash lumber piled in the front. You know what happened next. I jumped in the jeep looking for a wood-framed house on the night skyline. I found the nearest one and sure enough, a giant pile of trash lumber graced the front yard. There were small pieces, perfect triangles, long angle cuts, and awesome little two-foot pieces. I loaded up the leftover odds and ends and zoomed back around the corner to the party.
That leftover trash wood kept our fire burning beautifully all night, with some to spare.
As I think about that fire, it can’t help but think about the fires in our lives. Sometimes we begin our relationships, our work, or our side projects with loads of excitement. Then somewhere along the way, usually much earlier than we expected, things don’t go the way we planned. We quickly begin to feel like a novice and a failure. The fire that was once passionately dancing, seemingly unquenchable, is struggling to survive and we don’t know how to keep it alive.
Is there a fire in your life that started with big, beautiful, and strong rolling flames, but is now just a pile of smoldering ash that has left you feeling a little hopeless? If that’s where you are today, I want to encourage you.
Do not give up.
There are people counting on you to keep the fire burning. I know it may not seem like you can. I know it feels too hard. You think you’re out of fuel. Your tank feels empty and you have nothing left to give. It looks like all is lost and you can’t see any way to keep going. You feel like a novice and a failure. But this is not the end. This is an invitation to expand into the person you’re becoming. The stronger, wiser, and more refined version of the person you were when you started the fire.
If you refuse to give up, a new path will emerge.
No one else is coming.
Only you can keep the fire burning.
Refuse to give up.
to more love,
P.S. The fire burns brighter in a circle of women who love you. Gather yours and reserve your spots at our upcoming Simmer Down GNO (girls night out) hand lettering modern calligraphy class! It’s sure to fan your flames.