yesterday evening, when dusk was approaching and the northwest winds were howling through the ash and oak and white pine trees, i loaded the log carrier full of firewood onto my lap and wheeled it and myself to the living room. freshly cleaned chimney and firebox. stacked split logs and old issues of the sunday globe gazette crumpled between. kindling and ohio blue tip wooden matches.
i am a bit of a pyromaniac. my wife even more diagnosable than i. i admit that i am powerless over this… mare is in denial of her powerlessness. but we press on and find ways to function in spite of this pyromania. and the fireplace in the living room is one such way. it is one of the few things i love about winter in north iowa. the warmth and glow of the firebox and native fieldstone mortared around it. it is where i wheel to when i get home after a long day away. i am drawn to the warmth.
this morning as i get ready to head for the office, and light snow flurries mix with the smoke escaping from the chimney, i am reminded of other things warm in this life. the gift of family. of friends. the comforts of living in this prosperous land we call the united states of america. i pray that we move past the recent divisive feelings of the the campaign and election and find a working sense of unity again somehow. i am grateful for the godly foundations this country was built upon. and most of all i am grateful beyond words to the God of the universe who quietly and mysteriously holds it all together, much of the time beyond our line of sight and ability to perceive.
may we never stop seeking Him in the midst of our hurried lives. the fireplace in winter slows me down more often than i slow down in the other seasons. it brings a good change in that respect. the warmth draws me closer and causes me to linger. and that changes something about the quality of my life. at least for this season. even though it is dormant outside, there is life going on inside.
i am reminded of a quote from richard bode’s book First You Have To Row a Little Boat: “We’re sprinters running mindlessly against the clock, against ourselves, against the angel of death, and missing the essence of our existence as we go.” and as i think about that descriptor of how life feels sometimes, i pray that somehow we find time and ways to draw closer to those things of warmth, eg., family, friends, God, and slow down enough to increase the quality and purpose of our lives, the “essence of our existence” during this next season.