Friday, July 27, 2012

Stars, Hide Your Fires

"Roll away your stone. I'll roll away mine". In case you're wondering, the previous quote is taken from Mumford and Son's SIGH NO MORE cd. Because I discovered that particular album on the eve of a severe breakdown most of the songs on SIGH NO MORE hold a little piece of my heart. As I watched my life crumble and my sanity fail last winter, there were days when it took all my willpower to do nothing more than swipe away tears and sing along. It was a tiny step forward, but, over the years, I've come to believe that the small reprieves are the ones that move us toward the light and make life more bearable. A gentle word of encouragement, a song that makes you smile, or a free coffee at Starbucks help take the chill off when we can't seem to warm up. As winter turned to spring, I began to consider the central role heat plays in our lives. Warmth is more than a physical need, its an emotional one. Maybe what we're all looking for is radiance. The word "radiance" has two primary definitions: 1.) Light or heat as emitted or reflected by something; 2.)Great joy or love apparent in someone's expression. If you ask me, those two definitions are related. Perhaps loving means discovering another person's inner flames, finding that warmth irresistible, and, finally, moving closer to their light.

In her novel, EVIDENCE OF THINGS UNSEEN, Marianne Wiggins suggests as much: “What being in the War and being in the Army had shown him was that people tend naturally toward light, toward its source, as sunflowers do in a field. People lean, either in their dreams or in their actions, toward that place where they suspect their inner lights are coming from. Whether they call it God or conscience or the manual of Army protocol, people sublime toward where their inner fire burns, and given enough fuel for thought and a level playing field to dream on, anyone can leave a fingerprint on the blank of history. That's what Fos believed.”  Here's the catch, Folks: Drawing close to a radiant source can be dangerous. Have you ever stayed out in the snow too long? After you finally come back inside, the warming up process is rather painful. Your skin tingles. Your bones ache. At least for me, the same process happens when I find myself unable to resist another person's light. It terrifies me. The cold is hell, but I've acclimated. Nothing is worse than finally getting warm, only find yourself shoved outdoors again. The memory of that warmth makes the freezing temperatures all the more unbearable. But here's the deal: If you never approach the light then what will you miss? Every story doesn't have the same ending. If this winter taught me anything, its that I won't bury my desires anymore. Won't run from the light. You can't save yourself from the heartaches but hiding from the light might cost you your dreams. "Stars, hide your fires; these here are my desires and I won't give them up to you this time around" ("Roll Away Your Stone" by Mumford and Sons. This particular line almost a direct quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth)

1 comment:

  1. The symbolism of flame and warmth is powerful. It is very true that those who burn bright draw others in. Which is why the most empowering thing a person can do is to stoke their own flame. Modern society has hyper focused on "self esteem" in children, taken it overboard even. But the essential truth is that our humanity is grounded in helping our friends and family and neighbors burn brightly, each within themselves. This is what builds strength in individuals while allowing communities to thrive. If we all behave as moths, we aren't embracing our own self. And those who live to be the focus of others lose out on the beauty and power of living among people who own and express themselves in joy and wonder.