09 June 2009

Twist On Prometheus - Fire-Giver

Despite the rain and impending thunderstorm a couple of days ago, my friends and I gathered for June's full moon. Disappointedly, She did not show herself to us, but we were still treated to a spectacular lightning show.

We were able to start a small fire, and it was while I was staring into the flames that I had a minor revelation. I say minor because it was information I already knew, but that point in time, it seemed to have specific relevance.

Fire is the only element I can think of, besides water, that is both destructive and purifying. Anyone who has seen a house fire knows how quickly the blaze can destroy everything they've ever worked for. Fire nearly changes everything that it comes upon, and even those objects that can claim to be fire-retardant are still altered in some way, albeit minor. On the other hand, anyone who has seen a planned prairie fire knows fire is the only thing that allows the grasses and shrubs to regrow. Many times fire prunes the dead branches, undergrowth, etc. that prevent new life. In that sense, it's necessary.

So, these are the thoughts running through my mind Sunday night as I stare at the fire and contemplate the state of things around here. Then the idea came to me, "People are scared of fire because of its destructive property. It *changes* things, and many people are scared of that." Of course, I would be too in some cases.

But, metaphorically speaking, there are times when fire purges, when it cleans - when it's good. I think the scary part comes in because people don't know if it's a good (purifying) fire or bad (destroying) fire. Say, for example, someone wants to leave their marriage. They know, despite their reasons, that by filing for separation or divorce would start a fire of some kind - and it could go one of two ways.

a. While painful at first, the fire of divorce would prove to be good, as both parties would eventually end up fine, and able to lead their own lives and pursue their own happiness. So the fire did destroy, yes, but in the end, allowed new growth and change.

b. The fire actually opens up the door to new issues (custody arrangements, property/title changes, etc.). The one who originally wanted the split in the first place is more miserable and realizes it maybe wasn't so bad to be married. S/he was suffering from a case of "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" and finally realizes "you don't know what you got till it's gone."

Now I think I see why many people choose to do what Garth Brooks sung about. He sang "Life is not tried, it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire." It's safer and easier to not play with fire, most of the time.

But dang, what if starting that fire led to great and wonderful things? A new start? New growth?

It's pretty monumental to think about, considering we're only on this planet for a short number of years.