September 8, 2021

Love—like Fire—can be Suffocated.


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During a deeply vulnerable conversation, a good friend expressed his impatience and frustration with dating.

He told me he feels like he finally found the right one and really wants to lock the relationship in place by getting her pregnant—consensually, of course.

I warned him about the obvious repercussions, like the relationship not working out and whatnot.

And then I shared this story with him:

I was one of 15 teenagers who was a part of the wilderness and survival sleepaway camp, and so far only four of us had succeeded in starting a fire from bow and drill by rubbing wood together.

As you could imagine the process is long and difficult. You must perfect your stance (the way you kneel with a specific posture), and hover directly over your spindle while clamping your arm to your leg and thrust your bow back-and-forth. The spindle can easily pop out of the tight bowstring if you accidentally stroke it on an angle. If you’re not breathing correctly, it’s almost impossible to connect to the proper rhythm and create a coal.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was in the zone. After a full week of perfecting the art, the smoke emanating from my stance grew thicker and thicker. A crowd huddled around, and my spindle popped out of place. I created enough friction and energy that the wood dust within the triangular notch (that I had carved out of the dry board beneath) turned into a red hot coal.

In a hurry, I looked around for my tinderbox but it was nowhere to be found. I suddenly remembered that I left it in my tree hut minutes away. Others offered me their tinder, but the director of the camp said no, “If it’s a real coal, it will last.”

I ran like Forrest Gump and retrieved my tinderbox. After rushing back to my coal, I placed the tinder and gently blew the coal until the tinder ignited. I did it! I made fire from rubbing two sticks together.

The moral of the story? “If it’s a real coal, it will last.”

If it’s meant to be, you will be together. If the love is real, there’s no need to lock it in; you might even accidentally suffocate it.

To quote my great-great-grandfather, King Solomon, “Many great waters can’t extinguish the love.” At the same time, you must feed the fire so the flame grows strong.

This reminds me of a lyric from a song called “Euphoria” that has yet to be released:

“Baby give me another chance to show you I can do the dance

Like a sparkling mound of sand is love placed gently in your hand

If you might just squeeze too tight then through your fingers it will fall

Hold too loose there’s no excuse you’re left with just nothing at all.”

Love is the dance of giving and taking, pulling and pushing, holding and letting go—sometimes intensely, but never to the extreme that it’s potentially damaging.

Just like a fire needs both fuel and air, too much of either and the flame goes out.


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