A few months ago the mountains were on fire and the news continued to talk about what the percentage of containment was. There was a struggle within many of the people I talked with to reconcile the feelings of awe and horror, impressed by the beauty of the fire and horrified at the destruction. We prayed with our children for rain and sat and complained about the smoke over lunches. We bought donations to take to the fire station because it made us feel like we could do something when we wished we’d had some training and could do anything useful.
The comfort that softened our concern and the joy that bolstered our interest was the notion that the firemen were allowing the fire to burn, to approach paths set up where the fire would naturally slow itself, to spread with a purpose. We heard promises of the benefits of forest fires, nourishing the ground, burning away disease, preventing overgrowth which could create larger future fires if not managed. We saw pictures of previous forest fires followed by testimonies of incredible blueberry crops and new flower and tree growth, healthier and more beautiful than before.
We have times like this in our lives, times where the fire comes, time where we burn, time where those we love burn off in the mountains while we stand at the base and watch, wide eyed, wishing we had the training to do something, anything useful.
It is in that moment that you pull to mind that burning brings richness to the earth, richness to our lives. While the fire feeds itself, gaining ground, we sit and pray for rain, pray that it reaches its boundaries and becomes contained. We have moments of laughter, which rings inappropriately loud but is unstoppable and moments when our stomachs find a way to drop lower than the point they’d previously bottomed out.
And we return again and again to the one who controls the burn.