1. material that can be readily ignited, used in starting a fire.
2. the act of one who kindles.
Good campers know to keep the kindling dry. Without it, starting the warming fire would be difficult. Denser small bits of small dry wood or even lightly rolled news sections hold the flame better though crumpled paper or shavings more easily catch the spark. Enough of the right kindling aids in building a steady flame for the denser but more substantial logs.
We sometimes undervalue the smaller actions in our lives, wanting bright powerful movements to characterize our faith and life. We look for long term gain, stature in a community, public recognition of the worth of our actions. As writers we might notice our stats, count the followers, check the sale charts for a book, watch for others citing our words. As much as I write because it is something I do for me, I am not immune to this longing for notice, the longing to be a flame that will burn bright and long.
But what if we looked at our words and our writing another way ? What if my words form a small shaving, a tiny twig or branch, even that wad of thrown away paper, seemingly discarded as worthless? And what if those words take root in someone’s mind or heart and connect to other things they have read or heard? What if my contribution was just that piece of kindling necessary to create the flame that would ignite their passion, their hope, their joy? What if, my contribution, so small it isn’t recognized, made the difference for someone?
It can happen either way. That spark I help ignite can light that fire of joy, but can also create that one extra spark that can lead to anxiety. What if, I accepted the reality that the words I say or write and the thing I do actually matter?
I hadn’t seen her for months. Half a year earlier she had helped me open up at the blackest moments for my soul. In that place my faith had been a tenuous thread holding on to a God of unseen footsteps in a storm I could hardly weather.
“Tell me about it,” I queried.
“I just couldn’t forget how you believed God was with you even when you were darker than I had ever gone. I wanted to know a God like that so I started searching.”
Sometimes those broken fragile places in our lives provide the driest kindling. If I am willing to live the laments of my faith as well as praise, what else might God be able to do with my broken places?