"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham
Paris, Circa 1994
Photo: D. Paul Graham
Monday 5 Things…..One Year…..
With all things COVIDE consuming us, I nearly missed a sad anniversary last week. The fire at Notre Dame was just over a year ago. One year. How fast the world has changed in a year. The speed at which the fire raged and consumed the medieval cathedral in the 4th arrondissement of the la Ville Lumieres was breathtaking and heartbreaking. Much like the velocity of the metaphorical fire of a pandemic that the world has experienced in these past few months. This morning’s M5T does a slow burn of the metaphor and significance of fire in our lives
Gold, silver, bronze and copper. Each metal must go through intense fire to separate the dross, the impurities, in order to become of any value or use. We have all had those times in life where the stress and chaos of difficult situations feel like a consuming fire. We may not see it at the time, but those fires serve to cleanse and purify our motives, our actions, and our desires. The metaphor of a fire serves to remove and free us from the barriers of toxic relationships, breaks unhealthy habits and allows for healing to begin.
Fire strengthens through a process of tempering. Tempering actually reduces the metal’s hardness but increases its flexibility under pressure, allowing the metal to absorb stress without breaking. Some fires in our lives rage and then are quickly extinguished; other fires are a slow steady burn that scorch over years. Some fires I have started by my own choice. Some fires were thrust upon me, starting without warning when I was unaware, unwilling or unable to recognize what was happening; weakening me to a point of just trying to hang on to life, at times seemingly by a thread. Fires have pushed me to address painful issues and have served to strengthen me, to have shaped me, and to have hopefully made me a stronger, more flexible man.
Fire has many metaphors that serve to explain emotions and actions. Burning ambitions. Extinguished hopes. Ignite passions. Fired up. Burned out. Ignite anger. Incensed at others. Sparks of creativity. Fan the flames. Blaze a trail. If you play with fire, you can get burned. Flaming out publicly. Fight fire with fire. Light a fire under someone.
Fire releases heat and energy. Fire can sustain us as fuel for food and heat for comfort and in the coldest of situations, for survival. Fire can illuminate the darkest of night or darkest of souls. Fire can kindle and flame (ok pun intended) romance and passion. Fire has inspired energetic songs: Burning for You, Girl on Fire, Fire and Rain, Fire, Burning Love, Fire Down Below, Great Balls of Fire, Hang Fire, and We Didn’t Start the Fire, to name but a few. Fire can energize enthusiasm or anger, creativity or destruction.
As destructive as they can be, natural forest fires are necessary for growth and sustainability of the trees and plants. Soil is enriched after fires. Seeds are actually activated by fire as they fall on new fertile beds of ash. Fire removes the undergrowth, decay and dead wood that chokes and prevents a forest from flourishing. I look back at the fires in my life and realize they have been a part of shaping me to the man I am today. I am a better man from most fires and yet will always have some deep scars from other fires. I have grown from the ashes of both and I am thankful for fires that have served to regenerate, allowing me to be more resolute, resilient, and resourceful to fight future fires that will inevitably happen.
Here’s to a week of fighting fires as necessary and taking advantage of those fires in your life for light, energy, and growth and strength.
© 2020 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.
D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.
You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org