“Would she stop halfway as he had done, or would she throw all caution aside and let the flames within her rise?” (His Family, Ernest Holmes)
This phrase has been popping into my head repeatedly since I first read it. Roger is speaking of Laura, his daughter driven by flash and fun who is heading into marriage as another experimental adventure. Her yearnings and “burning curiosities” remind Roger of a younger version of himself and as he looks on her potential, he wonders if she’ll waste it.
I do the same. . as I look at myself. What caution do I embrace? What flames do I smother? I don’t think that all flames are grand or daring. I have zero desire to run with bulls or jump from planes. But I do have flames that pop up and crackle at me and make me wish I could be more. I know that I have more, but sometimes the fear of discovery or change makes me stay with the comfortable, the known, and the accepted. I accept the limitations of my rearing and the traditions of my family. Many of these traditions are wonderful. My faith, my work ethic, my compassion, my desire for excellence. . .these are the flames my family has fanned. But there are others. I want to write and tell stories. I want to farm. I want to live near the mountains. I want to have chickens and apple trees.
Still, I have realized something. I cannot sit on my hands and build a fire at the same time. If I want change, I must change. The life I envision will not magically happen if I waste time living another one. If I want to write, I must make time to write. The person I picture in my head will not evolve without effort. It will take goals and time and discipline. Will I do it? Will I shake off the caution that makes it more comfortable watching a movie that working on a story? Will I let the flames of courage rise up and drum up a storytelling show?
Will I rise?
I will try.