The Fire-Starter…

Who could benefit from the fuel of your kindness today?

When I was eight years old, I sat in a field with a couple of friends. In front of us, someone had piled a ring of rocks for a recent bonfire. Next to the charred remnants of the fire, a stack of wood and paper was piled neatly off to the side. While we sat there talking, one of the kids had a great idea: why don’t we start a little bonfire?

Nick road his bike back home for some matches. After he returned, we went through the whole book of matches without igniting the paper or wood into an actual fire. Then, Steve, the oldest in the group came up with the solution.

“We need some gas,” Steve said sagely. “I’ll be right back…”

In hindsight, this would have been a good time for me to “hear” my mother calling me to come home.

Steve returned shortly with a gallon-sized, metal gasoline can and a lighter. After pouring a liberal amount on the paper and wood, he attempted to click the lighter next to the fire. The wind, though, kept snuffing it out. Finally, he took a stick and dipped it in the gas can. Crouching low to the ground, he clicked until the lighter ignited the stick. Then he moved next to the ring of rocks, and dropped the stick into the pile.

Some of the hair on Steve’s head along with most of his eyebrows and eyelashes disappeared instantly. Steve backpedaled away from the blaze so quickly that his hand caught the gasoline can, and he knocked it over, spilling the contents into the inferno. The fire was no longer contained to the ring of rocks. The wind and dry conditions fed the fire, and it spread quickly. Within minutes, the dry grass started to pop and crinkle under the heat of the fire, and a large section of the field started to smoke and burn.

Nick and Steve got on their bikes and took off. That left me to try to put out the fire by myself. Which I did…with the assistance of some police and firemen from the town of Woodridge.

From that memory, I’ve taken with me two important life lessons. First, sitting is a privilege, one that  I was not again to enjoy until sometime after my 11th birthday. Second, a little accelerant goes a long way!

Every relationship needs some type of fuel to burn hot. At work, it might be the coworker or boss who smiles and says “Hello” with warmth each morning. At home, it might be the person who does little things just because to show how much they love you. It doesn’t take much warmth and kindness to fire up a relationship. Why? Because most people are like that dry field, waiting for someone to come along to fuel them up with passion and appreciation.

Who fuels you? Does that person know how much you appreciate him or her? Don’t let this week pass without you saying THANK YOU…

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