I learned in my fire prevention days that three things are required to start and maintain a fire: Oxygen, Fuel and Heat. If any of those three are removed from the chemical reaction the fire goes out. Also the intensity of the flame is dependent on the quality and balance of those reactants. It is a really simple way to look at something that seems complex. It enables someone to take the emotion out of a situation and work to influence the fire in which ever way is useful. For firefighters it enables them to figure out what can be removed to put the fire out, for campers it helps them figure out how to build a fire that is the right size to cook a meal or keep themselves warm. Fire is both destructive and constructive, that is the paradox and the struggle. Constructive or destructive depends on the focus, on the perspective.
I can only imagine what watching me struggle is like from Adam's point of view. I imagine it is something like watching a brilliant fire slowly recede on itself. Eventually he looks at the coals with only a vague reminder of what the fire was like. I imagine Adam watches the color drain from my face, my smile become more and more forced (as I struggle with my mind), and eventually he sees me let go and withdraw. Much like the coals, it is a delicate situation to add elements slowly back into the fire, to carefully pay attention to what the situation needs.
I tend to go until something collapses. I guess I don't tend to my fire well all the time. When I am at the coals, it takes a while to find the balance of my triangle, to identify what exactly is Oxygen, Fuel and Heat for me now. The fire will rekindle and burn brightly once again.
Question to consider: What are you using for Oxygen, Fuel and Heat in your life right now?