To be honest, people are a little miffed with me. They want me to join their group and contribute to their effort. To lay my logs upon the fire they are building and stand by to watch it grow. What a glorious sight. What a powerful flame. What a warm feeling, to gather around that fire. Especially as the cold approaches. There is nothing like the warm feeling of welcome.
But I resist. Not because I am not a group person. I am. I love being in the circle where ideas are batted around and initiatives are given life. I love the interaction and the energy and the fellowship. I love, love, love being in the circle. It’s just that I cannot do it on their terms.
You see, they want me to focus on the flame at the center, but I am meant to fan the flame outward. In fact, when I sit in a circle, I’m always turning to see what’s going on outside of it. This is probably distracting for its members, and for this, I apologize. True, I am not giving it my full attention – which is disrespectful – and even more so when I toss in bits to contribute to the conversation anyway. It’s not that I am ADD, exactly. It’s that, when I’m seated, I’m always on a swivel.
It makes me think of the bucket brigade of old time firemen, passing hand to hand the bucket of water destined for the fire. Or the townspeople, heaving sand bags person to person to shore up the dam. I am one of those kind of people. Meant for the middle of the line. I am not meant to circle around, but to pass along. In both directions.
I look, listen and learn but also turn, talk and teach. I intercept those walking by just to have a conversation. A sort of mobile sounding. To reach out and exchange. Honestly, I don’t do this by my own initiative. It just seems to be part of me. This sort of internal swivel. A pivot point very central to my being, that resists being locked in one position.
I hope the folks around the fire will forgive me, and keep inviting me to come and be part, because that is central. Perhaps we could lock hands in criss-cross, like the Brownie girl scouts did back in the day and perhaps still do on closing their gatherings. Reach across with the right to the person on the left and reach across with the left to the person on the right and then twist arms up over head and around. The tangle comes unfurled as all turn to look outward, even as hands stay clasped in a complete and unbroken circle.
Heaven knows we need a place to gather in our tangles. A safe place. A warm place. A welcoming place. But when we have the strength of being held by each hand we can safely turn to the world and say welcome. We can release our hold, just for a moment, to engage them and place them among us. This is how the circle grows. As long as each new member puts their log on the fire, the flame will be just the right size to warm us all. We need not fear growing too far from it.
We hold fast, on the right and on the left. To one hand and the other, knotted and not, compressed and expanded, inward and outward, as a dance. As a breath. And fan the flame of life.
Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.