There is something about fire that draws people into intimacy. I know that is kind of a weird thing to write, but it is something I have experienced twice now over the last month.
Several weeks ago during a visit with my family, my siblings and I spent two long evenings gathered around a fire pit talking, laughing, crying, praying and arguing in the way only the six of us can. There was just something magical about gathering around a fire, watching the flames leap and dance while pouring our souls out to each other. Somehow the darkness that surrounded us, broken only by the fire we circled, provided a safe place to unburden myself, to be honest and open as though there was nothing else I needed to worry about except the intensity of the flames that warmed me and the company of the people I loved the most around me.
This week, after a difficult day, I suggested my hubby and I have a candle lit dinner after the munchkin was in bed. Once the house was quiet, I cooked up a quick meal, turned off all the lights in the house and we ate a cozy dinner at our dining room table with only the pale flicker of candle light. I don't know if it was the candles that I have to thank for that evening, but the conversation that flowed between us was deep and rich and exactly what we needed as a couple. We talked about our relationship, family and God, but instead of settling for the surface interactions that mark our day to day communication, we were able to really dig into each others mind and heart and find that deeper level of openness and connection that can be so elusive in our daily routine.
As I have reflected back on these moments that have been so meaningful to me, I really think, as funny as it may sound, that coming together around fire be it bonfire or candle light, creates an atmosphere of ease and intimacy that allows people to say things they might not have felt comfortable or safe enough to say in broad daylight. Around a fire with everyone's gaze directed at the flames and just enough shadow on your face to make you feel protected, you can expose your heart just a little more, you can be truthful about who you are even in the dark places and you can allow yourself to share an intimate moment with those around you in a way you might not have been able to do without the help of the flames.