“Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”― Henry Ford
Something is taking over the mountain! Wood piles! Piles of wood are popping up everywhere this time of year. They line driveways and paths. They are piled high against houses and sheds. I see them growing under trees and in meadows. Everywhere! Like flowers blooming in Spring the landscape is blossoming into wood piles. It is a harbinger of warm hearths and winter fires burning the chill away on the Winter days ahead.
Wood and fire – a cozy relationship unless you are the one being burned. As the fire turns the log to ash we witness the final contribution of a life that began as just a small seed. The tree-that-once-was is diminished to black dust. The tree that weathered and changed with the seasons has sacrificed itself to the fire. Jack Gilbert, an American Poet of the last century says this about the fire and wood relationship: “We think the fire eats the wood. We are wrong. The wood reaches out to the flame. The fire licks at what the wood harbors, and the wood gives itself away.” Somewhere in what Jack says I hear a message of sacrificial giving. It is as though in its final burning, the wood has achieved its sacred mission…to offer what it is made of in order for the fire to bring light and warmth in the midst of a dark and cold world.
Beyond this mountain that I call home there is a dark, chilly world waiting for my contribution – and yours. Am I willing to share the talents and treasures that lie within me, collected from seasons of growth and change? Am I willing to give myself away to that Holy Spirit Transforming Fire of God? And what warmth and light could this sacrifice of mine bring to another?
Proverbs 26:20 says, “For lack of wood the fire goes out…” In the midst of all these piles of wood waiting to be consumed in the cold of winter, may I be mindful of the sacred transforming generosity that resides within each of us. May I, too, reach out to that Holy Flame to offer the gifts God has harbored in me.