in our village in the jungled west sepik province of papua new guinea, matches were hard to come by. never in the back of a junk drawer. once had, humidity often held the lighting hostage. when fire came to life, it was preserved and protected.
fires were kept smoldering in the middle of dirt floored huts by day. they were the only door to cooked food and smoky protection from mosquitos carrying malaria and dengue fever towards sleeping children at night.
fires cleared land for life bringing gardens. they held back relentless green from overtaking slippery clay paths or loosely graveled roads.
fires were where we gathered. they were witness to music and stories and laughter.
torches lit the way at night. a piece of barely dry wood or a section of bamboo. carried by young children and old men with bush knives, bilums and buai-stained lips. by women doubled over with the weight of survival piled high on their backs.
i remember smoldering branches waiting in the dust to be claimed outside of our coleman lantered house. after gatherings had left behind empty cups. testimony to a filled with propane heated water…powdered milk… milo or nescafe.
you did not let the fire go out.
you blew the smouldering into flame.
you blew to bring light back.
you blew so life could flare up.
like those branches and bamboo, i see people carrying their hearts with them through day to day. some are bonfires. drawing people in for together and warmth. some are steady burning torches, providing light to lead. but some are smouldering. almost out. some are flickering flames that disappear and then try again.
so i want to blow.
in that moment. in that passing. in that friendship. in that every day.
a breath of
i see you,
this is the way home,
i want to blow. and i am grateful for those who turn breath towards me.
“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”