I wish that old wounds didn't hurt.
You know the kind I'm talking about. You have been through the intense pain, but that old familiar sting still hits you sometimes. At odd times, when you aren't expecting it. And you think to yourself that you shouldn't still feel this way - that you should be over this by now. How do you get it over it? Is healing possible? What is the meaning of pain in life? Does all my pain serve a greater purpose?
And those are questions that I think every human struggles with in this life. How do I fit in to this puzzle? What part does my piece play? And I think too often, we find ourselves insignificant. We let ourselves believe that we aren't really that important and we aren't really doing that much good - at least not enough good to actually change the broken world around us. The darkness is so loud, we start to wonder if it is drowning us out.
I was burning a pile of leaves and sticks in our yard, in the country, the other day. I love landscaping activities and there is always plenty of work to do outside. I am always somewhat mesmerized by embers, those leftover remnants at the bottom of the fire pit. As I watched the fire burn, I found an interesting phenomenon to be true.
Embers appear to be entirely burned up, encased in white soot with black lines cracking the surface. They don't seem like much, especially in the daylight. When the light is shining on them, they just look like any other ash, claimed as a casualty of the blaze.
But when my shadow blocked the sunlight, I saw it. In the darkness, the ember glowed hot red. Despite the chalky, white ash casing on the outside, the heart of the ember burned on. Bright, surreal heat from something that looked like it had been consumed already. Something that looked useless.
I stepped in and out of the sunlight a few times, each time realizing that it was nearly impossible to tell (in the light) that the ember was still hot. But each time, in the shadow of darkness, the fire inside was undeniable.
I got a peculiar feeling as I wondered to myself, how many times have I believed a lie? How many times have I thought to myself, "I'm not worth it", "I'm not making any difference", or "I'm not enough". It's tempting to believe a lie, going through everyday life. But I have discovered that one hot ember is enough to start a whole new fire. In fact, the embers left at the bottom of the fire pit are the hottest part of the fire. Under the right conditions, just one ember will ignite a brand new fire.
You are the ember. And hope is the fire.
And no matter how deep your cracks or how stifling the ashes of the past, the hope inside you will never burn out. Believe that you can change the world, because you can. Believe that you can make a difference, because you already are making a difference just by being alive. Believe that your dreams are attainable. Believe that you can give some hope to each person you come into contact with. Believe that the fire still burns inside you, even when you feel consumed by the pain and problems around you.
Embers burn the brightest in the dark and shadows. We can light our world on fire with the hope that burns in our broken hearts. One day at a time.