When I think about uniting my head and heart to recreate, I think of a few quotes.

  1. He is risen.
  2. The fire rises.
  3. This girl is on fire.
  4. We’ll go down in flames.

I understand the inherent contradiction of fire rising while simultaneously causing the downfall of what it consumes. Think of it his way: There’s a sort of cosmic balance in our universal ecosystem. For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. This finite, mortal understanding of the way existence works demonstrates a scientific perspective. It’s a basic alchemical principle of equivalent exchange.

Consider how every seven seconds, one person dies while two are born (just inside six seconds!). The whole “life for a life”  concept, archaic though it may be, serves a purpose. It keeps resources evenly disperse so future generations will have something to consume. Without this natural counterbalance, we must find a way to recreate how we consume. Or, the future will be ashes from which none shall rise.

As this notion of ecological recreation benefits everyone, so too does the destruction and recreation in our own internal lives. Something must first feed the fire upon which your prayers of smoke shall rise. You’ll have to offer up something, a true sacrifice of something which has weighed you down.

For example, I was essentially asked to quit by a former boss of mine at a time that would’ve significantly inconvenienced several people who relied on me. It would’ve been much easier to walk away. Many around me would’ve (and did) openly support my quitting, without even knowing the struggle I’d endured all year long.

I even had trusted people advising me to quit much sooner, too. I still stayed. My staying was in part obstinance, determination, pride, fear, and hope. I hoped I’d come out the other side stronger and more capable than before.

I’d already set parts of my world ablaze with my stubbornness. I think some fires need to be incidental. Some you set on purpose, while others are set for you. I couldn’t tell that the world I knew was was in flames until it was too late. I’d already lost a relationship, as well as my sanity, and my record of academic success. There’s no way I was going to quit, even when understood and offered up to me, no strings attached.

Maybe I inhaled too much smoke. Maybe my oxygen-starved brain wasn’t making the most logical choices. Oh, well. I guess I’ll resign myself to the knowledge that I’m not a quitter, and I have some self-respect left, too. It wasn’t easy to not quit. Admittedly, I did try to put out a few fires. And I failed. I wasn’t doomed to fail, but I was certainly destined for it on some level.

My life up in smoke, I had some new things to sort through. That smoke reached God, signaling to Him that I was finally ready for some new crops. So He gave me the seeds of curiosity, creativity, and hope. I’d had them all along; He simply reminded me where I’d left them.

They needed fertilizer and water. Believe it or not, these seeds were salinity-tolerant. My tears served as their water. The ashes, leftovers from my bonfire of failure, provided the nutrients for these seeds.

I fell down and got up again to rise higher than before. I now possess the confidence to admit and greet my uncertainty. I’m no longer setting ridiculous expectations for success. I’m not initiating trysts, or projecting romantic ideas.

am fostering friendship and community. I am building lifelong connections with people in spirit, deed, and word. I’m no longer resisting happiness, but embracing it whenever it comes around. I’m owning my flaws and mistakes, and actively working to overcome them.

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