The Fire Still Burns


Sometimes the only way to learn is to do it yourself. It doesn’t matter if the ubiquitous they tell you that that pot is hot because you will touch it yourself. Stubborn to a fault you will reach out and burn the hell out of your thumb because that is how you are and how you learn. Sometimes you laugh about this stubborn streak of yours. But that is because you can’t afford to always take yourself or life too seriously.

You can’t because you live each day with an intensity that rarely lives up. The proverbial fire in the belly burns throughout your entire being. When you are happy you are ecstatic and when you are not it can be rough. That is not an entirely fair description as it makes you sound like a moody fool whose emotions operate on some sort of bungee cord operation.

They don’t. A better and more honest description is to say that when you love you do so fiercely, passionately and completely. You don’t give yourself easily but when you commit it is with purpose. You aren’t quick to real anger but if someone gains that sort of attention from you then they are best served by staying away because when you engage you do so with full force and great fury.

Life experience has taught you that these traits can be good and bad. Life has provided you with experiences that have made your heart weep with joy and those that made you feel as if your insides had been torn out with a spoon.

One of the great challenges of life has come from when you have loved and lost. It is always different when you make the choice to leave. Because most of the time when you are the one making that decision you have already determined that it is necessary. But when it is not your decision but one that his handed to you it is a bitter pill to swallow. And if you are still in love it is made even more difficult by the sometimes irrational and illogical feelings that power the engine you call your heart.

You stand there listening to their words, the explanation that they offer for why things must end and you wonder if it is really happening. Disbelief is the word that comes to mind. It is hard to see their position, hard to understand how they can say that they still love you but cannot be with you. There is no abuse and no lack of attraction.

But there are other complications that cannot be ignored or handled. You understand it all intellectually but emotionally it is harder. Not so long before the two of you agreed that you could handle anything that was thrown at you. Promised each other that when things were tough you’d build a shelter…together. And that somehow, someway you’d power past the obstacles.

They weren’t empty promises, the words were not said in vain. But that was then and this is now. Life has happened and the muddy waters have been made murkier by things that have happened. Chaos and confusion have taken their places at the head of the parade and you are fighting multiple fires. And though you feel like you have a handle on it the feeling is not mutual.

And thus you find yourself back in your moment of disbelief listening to a laundry list of reasons why it cannot be. Apologies are given and platitudes issued about this and that. They tell you to take care, wish you well and then they are gone.

Time passes and you go visit the familiar stops of anger, sadness and ambivalence. There are moments where you wonder if any of it was real. Perhaps it was just a dream. It is a bittersweet thought. If it was just a dream than when you finally wake up you won’t feel any pain or sense of loss. But the thing is that you are a romantic who recognizes that you would miss the dream so maybe it is better to have had the experience.

For it is the experience that opened your eyes to new possibilities and ideas for the future. And thus you go back to marching along with the parade down Main Street. Periodically you turn your head and pick out faces in the crowd that seem to beckon to you. They smile and wave in your direction but you are not quite sure if you are the focus of their attention.

A little bit further down the road you decide that you need more answers to the questions that remain. Some of them are things that you can answer and others are beyond your ability to discern. So you set out on a quest to locate the things you need to solve the puzzle. It is a journey within the journey, a subplot on the adventure you see your life as.

The days pass and you acquire much of what you need to decipher the mystery of the paintings on the wall. Ancient hieroglyphics that were placed there to help you find your way. Old notes that were shared and memories are explored. And what you find is that the glass can be viewed as half full or half empty.

It is a little disturbing this discovery because it really doesn’t answer anything. So you decide that you need better data because that will make a significant difference. But the truth is that it really doesn’t make a difference because you are not dealing with numbers and science. People aren’t robots that you can program or command. They don’t operate based upon logic or reason.

And that is why you felt the need to touch the pot because you had to see for yourself whether it was hot.  You had to find out if the fire still burns, if the flames were real. Well, now you know that it still burns and that the flames were not some fabrication of fire.

Not that any of it really matters because sometimes there are no answers to the questions we ask or if there are, they are not readily available.

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