Fanning the Freedom Flame
magical night, over a candle-lit dinner for two, a young man fell deeply
in love with a beautiful young woman. She was the personification of all
things fair and marvelous. The Creator's Grace had touched her soul, and
she was the essence of true Love. Freedom had kissed her forehead and
given her its noble blessing.
_____In awe of her mystical presence, the
young man sat quietly, gazing into her eyes through the candle's flame.
Her eyes, fixed upon his, danced the minuet of intimacy while words unspoken
rang between them in masterful harmony. He wished the moment would never
end, but end it did, and the young man found himself alone once more.
_____At evening's end that magical night,
the young man had expressed his gratitude and extended a promise to the
beautiful soul. He opened his heart to her and invited her inside his
soul. Hoping to repeat the supernatural communion they had shared, he
offered her an open invitation to share the candlelight with her at anytime
she so desired.
_____Each night he prepared the table with
the hope of repeating their magical feast. A place setting for two adorned
his table, and the candle in the centerpiece burned brightly in the darkened
room. But each night, a solitary silhouette flickered on the dining room
The dishes and utensils on the table began to wonder what drove the man
to such madness. What could cause one to be so persistent?
_____"Why does he continue this futility?"
questioned the plate.
_____"It is difficult for me to understand,"
added the saucer, "as I would have had the sense to realize long
ago that she has no desire to return."
_____The cup was equally confused. "Why
does he continue his lonely quest when it is obvious it hurts him deeply.
His heart thirsts for her, yet the well is dry. Still, he lights the candle
each night with such reverence and hope."
_____When the young man brought the food
to the table, the situation grew even more perplexing. An aromatic appetizer
offered his view of the unusual behavior. "I cast forth a fragrance
which invites others to my feast. Once they experience my savory blessing,
their appetite lures them to return. When I have done my work well, my
patrons will beg for more. He possesses such a marvelous gift. Why does
he refuse to bewitch her with his charm? She'd surely find it impossible
to reject such persuasion, yet he never even reminds her of his invitation."
_____As each of the other occupants of the
table clambered and clattered at his unusual behavior, the candlestick
stood quietly and firmly at the center of the table. Surrounded by chaos
and confusion, it seemed oblivious to the questions posed. Atop it, the
tiny little flame knew.
_____Effortlessly, the flame burns brightly,
ever-changing yet undeniably open to the world around it. The wick offers
itself in sacrifice while the candle weeps joyful tears of wax. At the
base of the spark, oxygen gives selflessly to the cause. The fire cannot
look back or pause to consider the gifts she receives, for in the flame's
world to stand idle is to perish. Even so, her seemingly eternal radiance
casts forth the warmth of her gratitude.
_____No one can see from whence the fire
comes, and no one knows where it goes. The solid wick and the invisible
oxygen meet with a mysterious spark and together join as one. Anyone can
see the light, feel the warmth and smell the trail of smoke that lingers
in the breeze, yet nothing and no one can possess the flame. Parted from
the source, the fire dies. Cut off from the supply of air, death is certain.
Though one may come very near, surround the flame entirely and it will
no longer burn.
_____Just what is this flame? Is it solid
wick turned to gaseous smoke? Is it air turned to radiance? Is it life
longing for living; love longing for loving? In silence, wick and flame
understand this union.
_____The wick knows nothing but to prepare
a place for the spark, for it has no dominion over fire. Cold and alone,
it awaits the chance to burn itself out, giving way to the warmth of love.
As wick to flame, so is the young man to his beloved lady.
© 1993 - Paul Stephens