“Start a Fire”

I have a birthday coming up. Being someone who is a sucker for any excuse for reflection (New Year’s Eve, Sunday worship, any free moment with a cup of tea and a journal), birthdays bring out the introspective evaluator in me. Who was I this time last year? Have I grown as a person, changed for the better or the worse? I’m not much for life goals, but am I closer to the life I want to have?

The truth is, I think I am becoming more of the person I’m created to be. I am a little freer, a little kinder, a little more gracious. I’m also a little less swayed by others’ opinions, a little more confident in my own intuition. I’m less angsty, though I still overthink like a pro. I’m a little calmer, a little stronger, a little softer.

However. There’s still something awry deep at the core of me. An Absolute Truth that I know for certain is in fact a lie, a reality I accept about myself that I am logically aware is erroneous. But I don’t know who I am without that lie guiding me like a rudder through uncertain circumstances. It feels like a cold thing, an icy shaft at my center. It keeps chilled and barren parts of my soul that should be warm and vibrant and green with life.

A lot of life experience has confirmed the false truth, keeping my heart at the right temperature to maintain the chill. I’ve learned to barricade myself from heat through passive aggression, spoken assumption, insistent devaluation of others’ regard, and what Brene Brown calls “foreboding joy.” I’ve found a safety in pushing intimacy away by refusing to believe it’s being offered to begin with. I’m useful and helpful, and loved as such. But being seen is something that makes me squirm a bit. Being loved when I’m not being useful shakes up the icy core, knocks it into the warmth surrounding it, threatens the balance I’ve struck with the nasty voice in my head.

So when I heard this song a few days ago, it brought tears to my eyes. Michael (Passenger’s non-stage name) seems to have stumbled onto a reality and called it what it is. We have these places of ice and death tucked into our souls, places meant to flow and move and breathe. There was a time when all our broken adult places were childlike and open and free and anticipating. I’ve often thought my frozen core would melt when it touched the heat of the right other. That someone, someday would speak Truth so boldly and insistently that I would finally be able to live without the lie, resting in that someone’s strength of conviction. But maybe Michael is onto something. Maybe it’s time to start a fire of my own.

My heart’s a frozen lake where streams used to flow

Way down to the forest of my mind where memory would grow

And I walk among the trees where the last sun rose

The leaves are all golden and brown with nowhere to go

Oh, I think I’m gonna start a fire

Could be way off on the lyrics – did my best from the video 🙂




  1. Vicky said,

    June 12, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I think you have done a great job here articulating some things I think but struggle to get across. Love you lots friend.

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