Have you started any fires later?

So our son set the bathroom garbage can on fire the other day.  Lest you think he’s a pyromaniac, it was an accident.  We had a candle burning in the bathroom.  He went to use the bathroom, and a minute or two later I hear him screaming and calling me.  I run into the bathroom to see flames (not just smoke, but flames!) inside our garbage can.  I start screaming, “What happened?!” and he’s screaming, “I don’t know, I don’t know!”  Mark runs in and I’m screaming, “What do we do?  What do we do?”  Our girls come running over, yelling “What’s going on?”  While the rest of us are standing around screaming, Mark (smart man that he is) realizes that we are, in fact, IN a bathroom with WATER.  So he starts dumping water into the garbage can to get the flames out, and then carries it out of the house.  Luckily, the only casualty was our many years old garbage can.  After the fire was out and we had calmed down, I asked my son what he was doing.  He informed me that he had “only” placed a piece of toilet paper over the candle but “he didn’t know it would cause a fire!”  When the toilet paper caught on fire, he tossed it into the garbage can…and we all know what happened next.

In the days since this happened, I’ve told this story a number of times.  And every time I tell the story, I’m taken by my son’s explanation for what happened.  He was curious, he didn’t think it through, and before long we had a fire in the garbage can.  It made me wonder how many of the ‘fires’ in our lives start because we fail to think things through.  I won’t speak for all of you, but I know that I am often the one who creates the craziness in my own life.  And those self-made fires can start just as quickly  as my son started that fire in our garbage can.  Maybe your fire starts because you say “yes” more times than you say “no”.  Before you know it, you are coaching baseball, leading girl scouts, secretary of PTO, and volunteering at your church on your only free night every week.  Maybe it starts because you begin a home repair project without knowing all that will be required.  How hard could it be to take down some wallpaper or put in some new flooring?  Before you know it, your house is beginning to resemble that house in the movie “Money Pit.”  We often mean well, but we are left saying “Well, I didn’t know that was going to happen!”  But the good news is this:  if you started the fire, you often have the ability to put the fire out.  Our little garbage can fire took place in the bathroom, mere steps away from faucets full of water.  As the rest of us stood there screaming at the fire, Mark took two steps and dumped some water on it.  And just like that, the fire was gone.  We can do the same thing in our lives too.  Don’t just stand there and scream at it, look around for a way to put it out.  Rethink your commitments and see if you can get rid of one or two.  Take a realistic look at your home project, acknowledge that rewiring your entire house may have been a bit more than you can handle, and hire an electrician.  Don’t let the fire you started by accident burn down your whole house.  The water is probably closer than you think.


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