There’s something that happens after you’ve spent some time in the fire — feeling the burn, the loss, even the risk of all that isn’t lost but could be in a flash (because you intimately begin to see the limit of all things, subjected to fire).
After a while there — a real-long while there — gratitude becomes the effect. Not an effort, but a result. You feel the finiteness of … everything, and so the small things that aren’t lost or returned to you feel like they enrapture you with gratitude. The half-buried snail shell, the monarch, tangled in winter, the slow-progressing child who somehow managed to read a sentence … all of these things could make you weep.
I realize only a small segment of us have elements of our life fire *behind* us (it seems His fire burns long these days, doesn’t it?), but it’s worth writing for those still in the fire or those, like me, wanting to consider it: over time, the fire doesn’t feel as hot. (Sometimes a real long time.) It just doesn’t. And you start to see through to the other side, and it’s as if your eyes can see for the first time.
We spent half of January celebrating that the fire is now (for this moment) at our heels, not in our face, and celebrating all that the Lord did while we were in it. And one of the most remarkable things to me on this paradise island where whales breached in the cerulean water, and the sun always shone, and every sunset was its own performance … were the monarchs in January.
Yes, the flitting monarchs. The tiny monarchs.
Friends, the fire of life doesn’t just burn needlessly … I promise. I know some of you are in it, and you’re sure it does and it will. But God changes how you see and what you see there. He makes the small (of Himself and His world) very, very big — in ways where you can’t ever unsee it.
(Some of you know this already. Isn’t it glorious?! 😭)
📸: Caleb Hagerty 👏🏽