Earlier today, my dad was struggling to get the fire lit. He'd finally given up on it when I, never one to back away from a burny challenge, stepped up. "Don't worry, father!" I cried, cape possibly billowing behind me. "I'll take care of this!"
So, I knelt, and I poked, and I crumpled, and I blew, but the flame kept giving up. The twigs just weren't that enthusiastic about it all, and the paper - while enthusiastic - didn't have much in the way of stamina.
After some time (I don't know how long, time flies when you're setting light to things), I began to lose hope. That dying flame reminded me of so much about myself. Fire has long been a metaphor for spirituality, for me in particular (partly due to reading these wonderful books as a child), so to kneel there and watch it try and die over and over again was really quite depressing.
So I did something I don't often do these days: I prayed. Praying was the first thing I did to see in 2010 (the second being a massive balloon fight), as I'd wanted to see the new year in properly; so, being off to a good start, I thought I'd continue the trend. "God," I thought, "you know how hard I've tried to get set alight again - well I'm going to leave it to you now. Please make it burn." I sat and watched as the flame licked the wood, making paper die and twigs glow, but as the glow got softer and colder, I gradually gave up hope. I left. I didn't want to see that last spark go out, not after such a good start to the year.
A couple of hours later, as I wandered through to the kitchen to help dad with dinner, I saw that there was a roaring fire going. "Oh, you got it lit in the end" I said.
"No, you did!" he replied. Apparently after I'd given up and left, the fire had kept burning. It had taken hold.
It's going to be a good year.