The Most Important Things...

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them--words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to where your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.

~Stephen King~

Fire Pit Therapy - Redux

Right now I'm sitting outside next to what once was a raging fire with lots of good people around. One by one they have all gone to their homes and even Ben and Brande have gone inside and to bed. Now, at 2:45 in the AM, I am alone with the fire and I feel at peace and in harmony with the pops and crackles that accompany the sounds of crickets, and an occasional flock of geese flying overhead.

We had a fire last weekend also but it was a different fire with a different feel... more like a marshmallow and hot dog fire that one was. Tonight's fire was more of a storytelling fire and while it began as a celebratory fire, it became clear to me as the evening turned into morning that this would be a fire that I would keep company long after my friends retired.

We started close to 11:00 and the original purpose was to celebrate our friend Kendra's first visit to the temple in Kansas City. I was planning on going but circumstances kept me from doing so. Once I found out about the fire earlier today (yesterday) I knew that I would have to come to give her a hug and offer words of congratulations and let her know how proud I am of her and her decision to go. My original intent was to go to the fire for a few minutes... Just long enough to accomplish the previously mentioned actions, then to go on home and to bed because I have to get up and be at Church for meetings at 7:30AM.

The problem is that I really knew better. Knowledge of one's self can be very inconvenient at times and will sometimes keep me from doing things that I want to do so that I can do the things that I must do. I knew that if I were to show up that it would be a very late night. I know now that not only was I correct in that early evening assessment, but also that this may end up being an all-nighter... and it looks as though I might be right here, next to what will by then be only smoldering ashes, as the sky off to the East starts to lighten and then I'll know that it might be time to go grab a shower, put on clothes that don't smell like smoke, and go attend my Sunday morning meeting.

I can already feel the power of a long overdue session of fire pit therapy beginning to work its magic.

As I write this, the only two things I am hoping for is for the wood and the battery in my iPad to last a little longer. My fear is that when the battery is gone that I might not finish this. I probably need not fear as writing is also good therapy for me, and is a gift that I neglect to give myself way more than I should.

The battery is down to 10%.

The fire is not raging, and of course I like a tall fire, but there is plenty of warmth radiating out and I am extremely comfortable. I am thinking about the people who were here earlier with me... Kendra and her brothers Garrett and Mitchell, Ben and Brande, Jason and Lauren and their baby Grayson, Emily, Kaytlin, Jami, Garon, Becka, Joy, Sam, and Skylar. My apologies if I have missed anyone or misspelled a name or two. I already miss them and I wish they were still here with me - not necessarily for conversational purposes but more to share the sereneness of the night and the warmth of the fire before me. Anything worth experiencing is worth sharing with those with whom you love and I would be very happy to share this time with those who were with me earlier.

So we sat around the fire and did what people who sit around a fire are supposed to do... we told stories. And the stories we told were as varied and different as the stages the fire went through as the night wore on. There were stories about Temple experiences, there were stories about underwear, there were stories about camping, families, childhood experiences, and many others I'm sure... stories that went on as I was otherwise engaged.

The battery is down to 6% now and it is 3:10.

I went to The Duttons show earlier tonight, before the fire was to start. I always have a great feeling when I go and watch them perform. I go through stages and phases as to which part of the show is my favorite. At first, anything involving Ben was my favorite parts because I knew Ben first before I knew the rest of the family. I knew of Dean because he was the Bishop in the other ward. I knew who they all were but Ben works closely with me in the Church.

I have gotten to know Tim, and Amy and their families quite well, and Abby too... and to a lesser extent, Jonathan. He is in a different ward so I haven't gotten to spend any real time with him and his family. What a joy and delight it has been to get to know this awesome family. (This is the part of my fire pit therapy where the subconscious mind begins to take the wheel and I become a mere passenger along for the ride.)

They do a song that brings me to tears each and every time I see them perform it. Tim starts out singing and one by one his family joins him. Then one by one the other families join in and before long the entire Dutton family is singing Bruno Marrs' "Count on Me." I honestly cannot keep myself from crying each and every time... and I can't imagine that ever stopping.

I am down to 4% battery power and it's now 3:20 and I know that I am going to lose power momentarily.

Before it died however, I did manage to update my Facebook status: Sitting by the fire at 3:20am with 3% battery left in my iPad and a good session of fire pit therapy about to kick in. Life is awesome!

I spent he next few hours pondering the mysteries of life and conversing with God. As I turned off the iPad and trained my focus back in the direction of the fire, I saw that wasn't much more than a pile of coals with a few pieces of wood strewn about in a haphazardly fashion. I went in search of wood... There was still some nearby so it's not like I had to go on an extended journey, and after I liberated these long sticks from the long and thorny vines in which they were tangled, I got the fire going again. Not the raging inferno we had enjoyed earlier, but a nice fire nonetheless.

Then I got down to some serious pondering. Every once in a while I would turn my attention from the fire and to my thoughts just to see what it was I was thinking about at that particular moment... sometimes I was surprised at what I had been contemplating and sometimes I was right where I thought I would be.

I'm still not quite sure why I need a fire to tune out the world and find a place where my thoughts can be free from the flotsam and jetsam that normally accompany them. For me, a fire has a cleansing effect on the brain, almost literally burning away the clutter on the desk that is my brain... or at least putting it in neatly into boxes and storing it away for the time being.

The problem for me is that when I leave the fire, all that clutter from those neatly packed boxes find their way back onto the desk. Usually not right away but it eventually gets there. Sometimes it's a matter of hours and sometimes it can be days where I'm free of the mess... I guess it depends on the timing of the fire.

I finally began preparations to extinguish the fire and leave this place of peace and serenity. It was now 5:00am and while I really didn't want to leave, I had pretty much run out of wood and couldn't generate enough flames anymore to keep me busy enough and I found myself wishing for things that I couldn't have - namely more firewood. It wasn't exactly stressing me out but it was beginning to be a distraction.

I spread out the coals, poured some water on them, then got in my car and went home knowing that sleeping before I took on the day before me was probably out of the question. Turns out, I was right about that.

I suppose that since this fire was on Saturday night (Sunday morning) I had all day Sunday without the clutter before returning to my literal desk at work. To be fair, this might also have been the case for the simple reason that I never really went to sleep before being at Church at 7:30 and I was pretty close to being the clinical definition of a basket case.

I can imagine the effects might not last as long if I had a good fire experience on say, a Wednesday evening. All of a sudden, this makes me think that I might be able to relax more and enjoy myself more if I were to treat myself to an extended fire pit therapy session the night before I went on vacation. It might even be beneficial to bookend my time off of work with good flame time.

Right now, at this very moment that I am writing this, at 7:50am on Monday morning sitting at my desk at work, this makes total and perfect sense to me.

I think I will give myself this gift the next time I take off work for longer than the normal weekend time off.

Such are the benefits of fire pit therapy. I only wish my friend Paul could join me.

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