house on fire

I’m not the best at analogies, but I’m going to give it a shot. Bear with me.

There is a house on a hill. It’s gorgeous from the outside. Exactly what you would envision a dream house to look like. One day you look at the house and the flames are shooting out from everywhere. Every window has smoke billowing out. You run up to the house, tears in your eyes. The door handle is hot to the touch, you know that you can’t go in because it’s not safe, but you stand there throwing buckets of water at the flames, knowing that what really needs to be done will take more work than what you are able to do on your own.

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Finally the fire department gets there. The initial threat is subdued. The house is no longer your dream house. Smoke-stained and wobbly from the flames. Windows broken with shards of glass laying on the grass. You listen as the fire department says the house can rebuild, but you know that there is a lot of work that needs to be done.

You watch as the house it takes its place again, but it looks different this time. It doesn’t look as tall as it did before. The curtains in the windows don’t look as bright. The grass around the house doesn’t look as lush. The front door now has multiple locks on it rather than inviting.

You notice that if you watch the house, it doesn’t have the same charm as it did before even though you can tell it wants to. You watch and you feel like you can still see little clouds of smoke that escape the windows… is the fire still burning inside? You can’t rebuild if the fire wasn’t put out.

You’ve been here before. You’ve been that house that was on fire. You know the pain and the destruction that the fire can leave in its place. You know that the cosmetic fixes don’t fix the structural damage that was done. You know that if the ashes of the fire are left smouldering, eventually it’s going to catch fire again…and this time the structure won’t be there to rebuild. I’ve been that house. I no longer want to cover the cracks in the walls or pretend that there aren’t weeds in the lawn. I’m going to own them and know how much I fought for them to be there.

I can’t stop that house up on the hill from burning again. I can leave out buckets of water and tell them to replace their smoke detectors, but I can’t force my way through multiple locks and leftover shards of glass to put out the fire.

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