Friday, July 13, 2012

Fire at Sabine Creek Ranch

For several years we have hosted a fireworks show for the community here at Sabine Creek Ranch around the 4th of July.  We had a large crowd again this year, and it was an excellent show.  (Thanks Nick Hill and Pyro-lite!)

We've never had any kind of problems with fire at these events, and always take precautions.  A few weeks ago I was announcing the show to our church family and said, "We've never had a fire, but make sure you're here because this could be the year and you wouldn't want to miss it!"

Sure enough....

A few minutes into the show, Sarah looked at me and said, in a calm but intense tone, "Eddie.  Fire."

Embers had started not one, but two grass fires that were spreading quickly.  I'll spare you the details and let you know that both fires were put out within a few minutes and did no harm (other than giving our new goats a good scare).  Two insights I took out of this little event though:

1.  Men love a dangerous challenge to accomplish together.  The ladies in attendance could have risen and run to the fire, but it was the men, without exception.  By the time I made it to the fire, there were a dozen or more guys who had arrived before me, running through a dark field and going over, or straight through, strong fences in the process.  Before we could even get them the water hose or fire extinguishers, they had gathered around the spreading fire, shoulder to shoulder, and were stomping it out, grabbing dirt, and doing whatever they could to keep it from spreading.

Men don't typically stand that close together, unless there is an enemy or significant challenge to face.  When the fire was out, there was laughing and back pounding and stories to tell.  They all wandered back toward the fireworks show, but the real adventure of the night was a common threat, confronted together and defeated.  They'll still be talking about it next year, and the next, long after the fireworks have been forgotten.  A camaraderie unique to men that's awesome to experience.  I love it.  It doesn't happen nearly enough, but it's a great thing when it does.

2. I wondered why we had a fire issue this year when we never have before, even in the drought of 2011.  What had changed?  As I thought, I realized....


When the drought hit last year, I sold the 20+ sheep that had been living in the pens around the arena where the fireworks are launched.  They were only there to maintain an area that we seldom use or visit.  But last year they weren't there to eat down the dead grass throughout the fall and winter.  Even with fresh, new growth coming through this spring, there was an abundance of dry, dead, matted grass throughout the pens.  A tiny ember and a little breeze was all it took to ignite a potentially destructive fire.

Pardon my constant search for analogies from ranch life, but I thought there was good application in this picture.  It seems many people I come across harbor dry, dead tinder in their hearts, minds and spirit.  Even with life and growth happening, there can be stockpiled fuel from past heartaches, anger, fear, rejection, addictions, abuse....  They can reside in places we don't often visit, waiting for the opportunity to unleash destruction.  An ember of a bad day or a harsh word, and a firestorm erupts that no one foresaw or expected.

It was a good reminder for me to examine the hidden areas of my own life, and to be on the lookout for stockpiled unforgiveness, tenacious sin, flammable pride or any other area of "deadness." To mow these down, and to let fresh, new life overwhelm the dead things.  Then bring on the fireworks!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Eddie! Good word that spoke to me this morning all the way over in Rio Dulce Guatemala.