Disappointments and Little Seeds part 2

[Check out part 1 of Nicola’s story below to put this entry in context]

I have since landed a contract job over the winter as a back country guide in Algonquin Park. I tell stories about the constellations, teach new friends to ski, make wonderful hot meals, play broomball and serve cedar tea with roasted chestnuts. I couldn’t be happier… It’s like God knew exactly what I needed this winter, and allowed me some heartache in order to get there. I love the woods. Telling people about wild animal tracks and leading snowshoe trips makes my heart gleam. The little log cabin I work in has no electricity; it’s lighted with propane lanterns and warmed by three wood fires. 


One of my duties is to wake at 6:30 in the morning to tend them. The masonry fire beside the dining room table, the large open hearth in the sitting room, and the wood stove in the basement. The hearth is aesthetic; it gives that cozy familial feeling but doesn’t heat the cabin up at all. The masonry fire warms us when we gather for meals; we only light it for breakfast and dinner, because it burns so hot that the stones around it keep the area warm for hours. The most important of these fires is invisible to guests – it’s the heart fire, the wood stove in the dark basement that puts off almost all of the heat in the big house. It’s the first I go to at 6:30; I gather some of the coals in a metal pail, fill up it’s big steel belly with logs, and carry my glowing pail from fire to fire, lighting the hearth, the masonry, and outside down the snowy path to the fire in the wooden shower and sauna building. All the fires that people actually see come from the heart fire – invisible unless you’re the one tending it. 


How often do we try in vain to keep up appearances? We work hard on the external fires that we feel need to look great, when really it’s the invisible fire in our hearts – the time we spend in the arms of our Father – that we desperately need to melt the ice away. 


I haven’t been praying much recently. Because I haven’t been praying much recently, I’ve been grouching, easily frustrated, careless, and selfish. I need to keep my heart-fire lit and my coals hot, so when I have guests, I can generously pour forth comfort, honesty, grace and a listening ear. 


Lord. You’re incredible. Thank you for Prayer Spaces in Schools, and for teaching me about dealing with disappointment. Thank you for carrying me ever ‘further up and further in’. You’re love is unbelievable; help us to believe more fully every day. Help us to be devoted in prayer, keeping us alert with thanksgiving. Help us to be wise in our interactions with others, making the most of the opportunities we have been given to share of our heart-fire. Let our speech and our smiles be gracious and humble as if we’re seasoned with salt, bringing out the flavour in all things.


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