I have a large backyard filled with bushes, trees, a stream, a lake, and a variety of wildlife. Over the years, I’ve gradually minimized the labor required for upkeep of the place, but every month or so we still prune and gather quite a volume of sticks and branches, which we then burn in a large pile out near the lake.
The branches we gather are usually old and dry, so they burn fairly easily. This year, however, over a period of several months, we gathered an unusually large number of branches that were completely green—because they were freshly pruned rather than gathered—and we stacked them in large pile measuring about eight feet high, twenty-five feet long, and ten feet wide.
From long experience building fires, I’m quite aware that green wood burns poorly—if at all—because of its high water content, but one day I thought I’d make an attempt to set the pile on fire anyway. I knew this fire would require more help than usual, so I brought out the gasoline.
Making a fire with gas can be quite exciting, especially for us closet pyromaniacs. When you throw a quart of gas on a fire, it doesn’t just burn. It explodes. The single largest non-nuclear bomb used by the United States military, for example, is composed of gas. The flames, the heat, and even the concussion from a gas explosion are impressive. In a short period of time, I threw at least four gallons of gas on that fire, producing giant fireballs that erupted into the sky and delighted both me and my granddaughter, whom I kept far from the flames.
After all those dramatic flashes of heat, however, I still had no fire at all in the pile of branches. Nothing. The fire from the gas had simply scorched the outside of the green branches, and none of them had caught fire. I laughed at my foolishness, walked away from the pile, and let the fire go.
A week later I decided to try something else. I took an armload of seasoned oak out to the pile and built a fire right next to the pile of green branches. Although the oak fire was far less dramatic than the gas fire, it nonetheless burned hot and steadily, and I kept putting the green branches on top of the oak fire. After twenty minutes or so, the oak fire dried out enough of the green branches that they began to catch fire, in turn drying out other branches, and soon there was an enormous bonfire, with flames shooting fifty feet in the air. The fire was so hot we couldn’t walk within forty feet of it. Soon the entire pile was consumed.
My experiences with people have been similar to my experience with building those two fires. In recent years, we have introduced the principles of Real Love to hundreds of thousands of people, and initially the vast majority of them have felt the truth and power of the message. Real Love has affected most of them dramatically—like a hot, gasoline-fed fire—but that initial blast of heat alone has proven to be far less than enough to produce a genuine and lasting change for most of them.
Most people have been empty and afraid for so long that one experience with Real Love—no matter how powerful—is not sufficient to change a lifelong pattern of feelings and behaviors. These people are like green branches. The initial effect of Real Love produces a scorch on the outside, but it’s not enough to set them on fire. Many of them, understandably and regrettably, are looking for an instant miracle, and when they discover that changing the pattern of their lives requires more than a day or two, they lapse back into their old beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. The fire goes out.
Many other people, however, have the wisdom to recognize that changing the pattern of their lives will take more than a day or a week, so they follow the recommendations of the Real Love seminars and literature. They seek out those who are more experienced with Real Love, who have the ability to give it with some consistency. They seek out wise men and women who burn with a hot and steady flame—like the fire built from oak—and the longer they are around these men and women, the more they become seasoned and prepared to catch fire themselves.
We need each other. We need the steady, seasoning influence of those who can warm our hearts and burn away our emptiness and fears. The power of Real Love is not found in a brief flash of heat and excitement. Its power is found in the steady influence of those who accept and love us from day to day, often in quite undramatic ways.
Persist in your efforts to find these wise men and women. Warm your hands and hearts in the heat of their love. If you continue in your efforts, you will be richly rewarded. You will be transformed by their warmth. Without conscious effort, all those qualities that have impeded your happiness will be burned away, and in time you will become a source of light and warmth to others. When that day comes, make the heat of your fire available to as many others as possible. It’s a miraculous process and well worth all the effort we could ever put into it.
Replace your anger and confusion with peace and happiness.
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