Love doesn’t blaze hot only to die out

by Craig on September 28, 2011

I was never a Boy Scout. I was a Cub Scout mascot once – but never a Boy Scout.


We moved from Brooklyn to St. Louis after my fourth grade year. I kid invited me along to a jamboree. City mouse – country mouse – sleeping in a tent and participating in Boy Scout-ish activity for the weekend.

The first night was cold drizzly rain and no dinner.
The city mouse had forgotten to eat before leaving home.
The city mouse’s mom hadn’t packed him any food.
The city mouse didn’t have a sleeping bag either.
So the city mouse just shivered and starved…
until, around midnight.
The city mouse remembers the time because he looked at his watch every 5 minutes.
Someone finally gave the city mouse a blanket and a hunk of Velveeta cheese.
The city mouse survived his first night in the wild – just by his whiskers though.

The next day there was a series of Boy Scout-y activities.
There was running – I could do that.
There was archery – I’d watched cowboy movies so I could do that.
Then there was a fire building test. There were fires in Brooklyn so I figured I could do that.

There was the spot you would build the fire…
and a stake to either side…
and three strings running across between the two stakes…
one about 6 inches high, another 12 inches high, and another a little higher.

Anyway, I heard someone talk about how pine needles burned really well.
So I gathered up a bunch along with a twig or two.
The whistle blew I ignited my pine needles…
and the blaze was mighty indeed…
shooting all the way up to the top string.


I thought to myself, “Silly country mice!”

But then suddenly the blaze began to disappear – but not the strings.
So I threw on more needles…
and I blew at them like the other kids…
apparently you needed more than a big burst of flame to get job done…
you needed the pine needles, and the twigs, and some bigger sticks…
the city mouse didn’t know this so he got a mini inferno – then nothing.

And I don’t want a repeat here.
I want a sustained fire.

These past weeks have been lived in the blaze of emotion about Sara…
this child of God, so faithful, so true, so brave, being here – then not.

But the tears that would. not. stop?
Mostly they’ve vanished like the mist…

returning only when a heart-string gets tugged.

The heart gets heightened at times like these…
and then we forget.
Those darned Autumn leaves…


…they’ll cover this.

Civilizations are buried underneath civilizations. Time literally submerges the past.

And I’m glad you guys have let me blog about this without running away.

Now I’ll have these words to come back to as the pine needle fire settles.

So now, how to keep the fire alive?

Not the blaze, but the flame.

I’ll have that by tomorrow…
please come back.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora September 28, 2011 at 9:15 am

There is such a paradox in the Homegoing of one of God’s children — it is the end of pain for that one, but the rest of us hurt with a pain that reaches deeper than any other kind of pain ever can. The pain does subside, and life goes on, and sometimes we speak less of the missing face. But we are changed — forever — because the ripple effect of that one life reached us, and we moved. We moved perhaps just a little in the big sea of life, but it’s enough that we see a different horizon, a new direction, or a new commitment. And that’s what we carry with us — even if we are buried under a pile of Autumn leaves! Memories, hope, faith, and commitment!
So this is life, the world with all its pleasures,
Struggles and tears, a smile, a frown, a sigh,
Friendship so true, and love of kin and neighbor?
Sometimes ’tis hard to live—always, to die!
The world moves on, so rapidly the living
The forms of those who disappear we trace,
And each one dreams that he will be enduring—
How soon that one becomes the missing face.
In life or death—and life is surely flying,
The crib and coffin carved from the self-same tree,
In life or death—and death so soon is coming—
Escape I cannot, there’s no place to flee—
But Thou, O God, hast life that is eternal;
That life is mine, a gift through Thy dear Son.
Help me to feel its flush and pulse eternal,
Assurance of the morn when life is done.
Help me to know the value of these hours,
Help me the folly of all waste to see;
Help me to trust the Christ who bore my sorrows,
And this to yield for life or death to Thee.
In all my days be glorified, Lord Jesus,
In all my ways guide me with Thine own eye;
Just when and, as Thou wilt, use me, Lord Jesus,
And then for me ’tis Christ, to live or die.—Will H. Houghton


Craig September 28, 2011 at 5:37 pm

there is so much there Cora, thank you for that. I’m so glad that you read me. I’m really thankful. God bless you my friend.


Dawn September 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Dear Cora,

You are a virtual literary repository of the great saints of the faith. I had to look the name Will H. Houghton up to see who he was. Pastor, evangelist and 4th president of Moody Bible Institute, no less. This was such a great poem for closure after Sara’s funeral to go on in this life till we all take our turns toward the gates of heaven.

Dear Craig,

You have helped us all think through the pathway from earth to heaven through your ponderings surrounding Sara’s time there. I think each one of us who passed by here has picked up a gem we will dust off and hold when our time comes.

Love the two of you,


Craig September 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm

you know what Dawn? I was gonna make some sort of comment like you did about Cora being the repository of the great saints of the faith. I really was – you wrote what I thought ツ

and thank you, I really was so afraid that my meanderings into this dark territory would make everybody run. Thank you for not running. God bless you Dawn!


Kristi October 6, 2011 at 11:33 am

I have already commented on another post of yours today…feeling ‘stalker-ish”. It’s just that I’ve been gone a long time. I just had to make quick comment on your Boy Scout adventure. As a mom of two Eagle Scouts your words brought a smile to my lips, and sweet memories. I actually have one son who is the country mouse and one who is the city mouse. How can both those boys have come through the same mom? :)) Loved it!


Craig October 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Kristi, it is impossible for a man to be stalked by a kind Christian mom. I heart comments – I’m a blogger – comments are like peanuts to elephants. No? ツ and you have both a city mouse and the country mouse – wow. I think there may be a picture book in that – write one! God bless you and all your mice big and small.


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