The Spark

To make a fire using a flint and steel set, you strike the steel against the flint until a spark lands on the char cloth, fungus or birch. You must then put the char into a tinder nest and blow gently. The spark is fleeting; it burns out quickly. If it does not land on the char cloth and start to glow, it is unlikely that the tinder nest will be of any value. Fire is not assured on this basis, but with enough practice you can do it time after time.

Every time you receive a spark of inspiration, you face the same challenge. If the tinder nest of your heart and mind have not been prepared sufficiently, the spark will disappear as quickly as it came. I’ve watched this process work out in relation to my daily posts. Something I write will spark a higher vision, a new sense of possibility in the heart or mind of a reader. They get really excited about the potential for change.

If they weren’t prepared to receive it, for example, if it caught them by surprise after a period of self-centeredness, chances are that the spark will burn out before they can do anything with it. Many sparks extinguish unfulfilled.

In my view, those who are expert at living are the most adept at using these sparks to advantage. To such people, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a spark come and go without catalyzing creative change. Those who fail to use the sparks that come their way typically start rationalizing to themselves and others why that spark wasn’t for them. Over time, such people eventually stop noticing the sparks altogether and in so doing they join the herd of mediocrity which has consumed more potentially valuable human lives than I could ever detail.

The point I am hoping to make today is that noticing the sparks, being willing to be inspired, is necessary, but not sufficient to living a fulfilling life. The sparks, just like those which give rise to a life saving camp fire in the wild, must be carefully handled if they are to fulfill the purpose for which they were sent.

4 thoughts on “The Spark

  1. Steve V

    Thank you for articulating the necessary process of noticing, being inspired and fulfilling the spark that comes our way to live an upward and onward life! Yes your words about fulfilling the purpose of the spark is an essential consideration. A grateful heart does allow our minds to acknowledge the spark which needs the nest of efficient use of time to see how it applies to our living. Your words today encourage us and are a reminder that we are here to live fulfilling lives sparked from which the specific purpose we have been sent. Living a life of our original purpose is really the only fulfilling life we can live.

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  2. Joy

    What a kind warning Gregg and how true that unless we actually kindle the spark we will assuredly succumb to your prediction that… “Over time, such people eventually stop noticing the sparks altogether and in so doing they join the herd of mediocrity which has consumed more potentially valuable human lives than I could ever detail.” What a sad but very true statement, the choice as always lies with us.

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  3. Ricardo B.

    These kinds of sparks surely are heaven sent and earthbound, to be prized above all things. The smoke from the fires lit are earth sent and heaven bound, allowing communion of God and Man. Communion, communication and consummation – that’s what this speaks to me in its symbology. Keeping fertile tinder always ready to land a spark has made all the difference in the world to me in keeping my wits about me.

    The concerns of the world constantly tug and pull you in so many directions, threatening balance and stability; the anchor for the generative life lies in the nest!

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  4. Coco

    Good analogy. A change of heart is really not an instantaneous event, it requires habit that is created by consistent attention to our inclination.

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