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The Fire

Thursday, December 22, 2011
Today, I feel myself getting frustrated and a little bitter about being alone this holiday season without Michael. I usually snap out of it almost as quickly as it tries to set into my thoughts. Every once in awhile, my flesh tries to rise up more than usual and beat me down in my thoughts. Little things have irritated me today. There are so many little things that I now do around the house that he used to do but  I have had to begin to do them all out of necessity.

The first night I built a fire this season was a frustrating one. I realized that the damper was closed and I could not figure out how to open it. I have built many fires in my life but I had never built the first one of the season, (it was very ceremonial for Michael when we burned our first fire each season), which means I never had to open the damper.

I could not figure it out so I called my brother and he tried to explain it to me over the phone, which did not work because I was already frustrated. I looked out my window to see if any of my male neighbors were home but, since it was not after 5:00, I could not see a sign of any of their cars. I was home alone and getting mad at myself and the world because I am usually very capable but I could not get it to open. I gritted my teeth with more determination and thought to myself, ”This is ridiculous! I can do this.” I practically had to crawl into the fireplace with my flashlight to be able to see the handle that I was suppose to pull. The angle of my body to the handle made it very difficult to open and, as I tried, soot was coming down on me, which only added to my frustrations. I placed myself further into the fireplace, made a grunt in my anger, and finally pulled it open. I was home alone at that moment, so I just continued on as if it was no big deal, got the firewood from the woodpile outside and built the fire.

I looked at the blaze with a mixture of contentment and disdain.

Today, after feeling irritated over many things, I got mad at my fireplace again. I wanted to build a fire because it was finally cool enough to do it again.  When I went to the fireplace, I noticed that the soot had piled up too high and it was time to scoop it out before I could build the fire that I wanted. It had been raining all day, and still was as I grudgingly put my hands to cleaning out the fireplace. I scooped out most of it, leaving some to help with the next fire, tied it up in a double-lined plastic grocery bag, and took it out to the trash. As I went outside in the rain to get my wood, I began to hear a little pity party of voices going on inside my head as I loaded up the wood in my arms. It reminded me of how I felt one day this past April when I went outside to find a flat tire on my car.

So many doubts started to whisper in my head and I knew in my heart they were from the enemy, but in the flesh I wanted to agree and sit down on the wet pavers and kick my legs… What do you think you are doing? You can’t possibly do this alone? Raise 3 children, now 5 children all alone? Run this household all by yourself? Who are you fooling? Nobody cares enough to see that these little things can sometimes be so hard. Then my thoughts switched over to feeling like a martyr…. I certainly can and will do this. Nobody is here to help me and I can do it all by myself if I have to. By the time I got back into my keeping room by the fireplace, my thoughts had been all over the board in as little as 60 seconds.

I was so relieved to get the fire burning. I lit some candles and sat down with a cup of tea to recover from,what felt like, my daylong pity party. I mean, it was just a fire in the fireplace……I am not going to let this get under my skin and start feeling sorry for myself about it. My God is big and He has given me strength up until now to meet each day with a strength from deep down within the well. Sometimes I don’t feel like more than conqueror. I don’t feel like I can do all things through Christ. 

 I have to put down my flesh daily, remember that He is and will supply all of my needs…."all" meaning physical, spiritual, and emotional.....even building a fire and gathering wood in the rain.


Anonymous Says:
December 25, 2011 at 3:34 PM

As you've alluded to, it's wonderful, really, that we don't have to "feel" anything. That's what makes our Father so happy when it is pure trust, which you have and will continue to have. It makes "all" things work together for our good. How difficult, yet how simple. Blessings on this Christmas!

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