by Bruce Maples
(Written after building a meditation bonfire on top of a garbage pile)
Old logs — dead branches off dead trees —
plastic bags of garbage —
rain-soaked, weather-beaten cardboard boxes —
All stacked — thrown in a pile —
surrounded by broken chunks of concrete blocks.
A pile — waiting to be a pyre.
Useless now, and ugly.
A haven for rats and termites, and other things that destroy from the inside out.
But . . .
Put a match to it, and it becomes
A beacon —
A source of light —
A source of heat —
A candle, a fire —
Burning, burning, consuming —
Rising to the sky, to heaven — to God.
That’s what we all are —
piles of trash, of dead things, of garbage, and empty boxes —
weatherbeaten, worn, tired, lifeless,
But . . .
Put the match to us,
the match of God —
And we are
Sending the flame of our lives out to the world and up to God,
Even while that flame consumes us.
That’s what you’ve got to do —
Put God’s match to yourself
Take everything you have
And throw it in the fire.