We heat our house with wood. It’s amazing how much warmth is generated by a three-foot soapstone box in the living room. On a cold night in January (yes, there were a few of those), the house was noticeably chilly. I went to check the stove. The tiles, usually too hot to touch, were lukewarm. I opened the door.
My husband, who usually tends the fire, had gone to a basketball game that evening. Before he left, he had added an oversized log, assuming it would carry us through the night, but the large log hadn’t properly caught fire. There was plenty of fuel but not enough oxygen. I added a few smaller pieces of wood and adjusted the vent to allow for more air. Shortly afterward, the fire was burning and warmth returned to the room.
Many in our congregation have been protesting since the inauguration of President Trump. Indeed, there’s a new issue to protest daily, often times more than one. I frequently listen to NPR news, and a recent analysis speculated that Trump and his team may be deliberately overloading the public in order to wear us out. “Resistance fatigue,” he called it. The speculation struck a chord.
Protest is important. It’s the fuel that makes a democracy work. But airflow is important too. Take a day off. Sit in nature. Enjoy a visit with a friend and challenge yourselves not to discuss politics. Life is still beautiful, even in these times.
And to those of you who, for life’s myriad reasons, have less time or energy to give, know that the kindling and the smaller wood are of equally vital importance to keeping the fire of commitment lit.