“You have to carry the fire.”
“I don’t know how to.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Is the fire real?”
“The fire? Yes it is.”
“Where is it? I don’t know where it is.”
“Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
The novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century. It details the grueling journey of a nameless father (the man) and his young son (the boy) following an unnamed event that destroyed industrial civilization. Realizing they cannot survive the winter in more northern latitudes, the father takes the boy south along interstate highways towards the sea, carrying their meager possessions in their knapsacks and a supermarket cart. The father is suffering from a cough. He assures his son that they are “good guys” who are “carrying the fire.”
“Carrying the fire” becomes a primary image of the novel, where McCarthy paints a picture of a brutal human existence where most people have chosen dehumanizing survival and a few have chosen to live with heart.
McCarthy’s message is clear:
Life is painfully difficult. Most choose to survive through self-sufficiency, self-gratification, self-protection, and self-promotion. Carrying the fire means to courageously stay open, willing, and able to live with sensitivity, virtue, vulnerability, passion, courage and sacrifice.
There is a fire that burns in us all. It draws other’s near, keeps dangers at bay, and warms us in the night. It’s up to us to keep it burning.
As we learn to tend to our own fire, we need to blow air on the warm embers or our callings that glow inside of each of us. We need to stoke the flames of our heart so that it burns with passion and purpose.
We do this by bravely looking at our stories and facing who we are, how we are created, and what we are created for. It’s the responsibility and privilege of each of us to stoke the fire that burns deep in our soul. That fire was ignited by the divine spark of GOD, our callings have been forged and softened in the furnace of heartache, and shaped by GOD on the anvil of Providence.
Accepting this, we can discover, uncover, and recover our truest Self and gain greater clarity and confidence in our calling.
How have the most difficult moments of your life shaped you into the person you are today?
How have these moments informed what matters most to you?
What are common themes of these moments? In what ways do they fuel your fire?
If you are struggling to find clarity in your life, contact Sage Hill Counseling to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. We’re here to help.