Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tend That Inward Fire

I went out dancing with my friend Melissa on Saturday night. We always have a good time. We are carving out a fantastic friendship. I am very happy for it. I don't have many friends, and that is something I have been actively trying to change. The problem is that I prefer real people around me. I like womyn who will call me on my bullshit and tell me when I am wrong. I like people mature enough to understand my struggles. I like mature, honest people. It is not always easy to find.

But I digress. After dancing, we went to breakfast. This is often the best part of the night because we talk about whatever is going on: work, dates, girlfriends, children. We talk about everything. A group of young men came in and were seated in the booth across the aisle and half a booth length back, and in the booth in front of them was an older gentleman, he said he's 70.

One of the young men came over and introduced himself to us as Caleb. He said that he and his friends had been to a bar in the Tremont (read a bit trendy) area and had a great time; asked where we'd been and if we were having a good night. Then, the six of us had a conversation that was delightful. We talked about how people don't talk to each other anymore. We debated about whether or not two people watching the same glorious sunset/sunrise were relating to one another. (My opinion is that though they stand at the same spot and are moved by the beauty before them, it does not mean that they will relate to one another at all.) We discussed whether you can find something to which you can relate in everyone, even people considered to be evil. We talked about how rare it is to have people even look you in the eye and smile or say good day.

During the conversation, Caleb mentioned that he is an artist. Which I knew the moment he mentioned the sunset/sunrise. He did not have to label himself an artist, I just knew it. I felt it. I felt it when he walked by to sit down. I saw it in his beautiful, soft brown eyes. I felt it in his handshake. I knew it when he walked up to us and introduced himself, asked questions and truly listened to our opinions. Amazing.

I had just hours prior laughed at myself because I realized that I am an artist and writer no matter how long it's been since I have written or painted anything. It does not change the fact that I analyze the colors of the morning sky while driving home from work. It does not alter my love for words. It does not change who I am, how I move, or the way I see the world. Some things just are.
Just as sure as I could see Caleb's fire in his eyes. I wonder if I will be able to see that in myself, or if others do. And I find myself thinking of Van Gogh's words "should one tend that inward fire, turn to oneself for strength, wait patiently...for the moment when someone who wants to comes and sits down beside one's fire and perhaps stays on? Let him who believes in God await the moment that will sooner or later arrive."

Amazing. It seems to me that we all have that fire. Often we unknowingly and recklessly share it with those who would put it out.

This quote means to me that God/The Creator/The Universe will provide just what we need, we just have to be willing to wait for it. I have never been patient. But I did not have any clue that Caleb would be set before me so that I can see someone else's inward fire burning. I saw in Caleb a fire that has been tended and my God, how gloriously it burns. I feel sorry for anyone who has him in their presence and misses true beauty. I feel sorry for us all for allowing beautiful human beings to pass us everyday without even making eye contact, without smiling, without relating. And, I feel sorry for those who have that kind of fire and have left it unattended.


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