Spaces in between


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the space in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that makes fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Judy Brown

Back from London by train last evening, having once again loved the buzz of the place, and the concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and the rugby crowds, and the good breakfast in the large shared dining room, the soaring architecture and the busyness … for a day or two.

We’ve harvested plenty of “fuel”. And now, curtains drawn across a cold and foggy night, kneeling before the stove at home to lay the logs and set the evening’s hearth, I am deeply thankful for the balancing space we enjoy in our lives; profoundly grateful for plenty of opportunity to “lay a log lightly”, allowing for space enough for “the flame that knows just how it wants to burn”.

I need to contemplate, to meditate, to pay attention to the Spirit’s flame, to the spaces in between.

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