I wonder if we think often enough about the people and events that have come and gone. They penetrate the fabric of our lives, but begin to fade over time. What burns with destructive force at the moment tends to become just a flicker. A painful experience, a powerful idea, a joyous occasion, a difference maker – sparks fly, flames grow, and then embers settle to an eventual ever dimming glow. And then, it’s dark.
I’ve made enough mistakes in my life so far to keep me focused with my wife and daughters. I’m reminded of what I do not wish to repeat, even when I feel the tug toward that seemingly pleasant but ultimately destructive path. When I say to my girls, “It’s not worth it,” I mean it. And I walk into school each day with the wisdom of my past mistakes tucked away in my heart and soul, finding opportunities frequently to share the truth with those I work with and serve. Yet, when we haven’t experienced it ourselves – felt the pain on our own finger of that red hot stove top burner – it falls short of the message meant to be delivered.
How often do I return to those patterns, even though I know better? And, how often do I fail to repeat the valuable lessons of my own past, or of our collective past? I want to do more and better, differently and the same. Loving my family, my friends, my teachers, my students is what sustains me. It fuels the fire that was ignited long ago, and will continue to burn long after we’re gone. It’s unforgettable, as long as we allow it to breathe. There are times we may want to extinguish it, but if we think often enough about the people and events that have come and gone, then there’s really only one logical conclusion …
Let it burn.