January 9

  

Today's quotation:

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

Today's Meditation:

I wanted to back away from this quotation, turn the page and write about something else.  Once I realized that I felt so strongly about it, I knew that it was important that I write about it, because I tend to shy away from many things that make me uncomfortable, no matter how good they are for me.  And this quotation addresses one of the things that intimidates me most:  people who challenge me to be more than I am.

Usually these are people with whom I feel some sort of connection or bond as soon as I meet them, and for some reason I find that I avoid them after I meet them.  I believe that it's because I can see the possibility of getting too close, and closeness isn't as safe as distance.  If I get too close to someone, the possibility of getting hurt is far too great, especially if I feel that person may challenge me to grow as a person.  The possibility there is that I'll disappoint this person, thus sabotaging the relationship.

By stepping back from these people, though, I do myself a huge disservice, for I lose any opportunity that I might have had to learn from them.  My fear has stopped me from growing many times in my life, and I often wonder where I would be if my fear hadn't been so firmly in control for so long.  The people who "rekindle the inner spirit" are the people we should embrace, about whom we should rejoice; instead, how often do we treat them in ways that are unhealthy to us and harmful even to them?

There are people who can rekindle that spirit, who can light the fire inside.  The question I have to ask myself, though, is whether I'm open enough to allow them to ignite that spark, or keeping them at arm's length to "protect" myself, thus never allowing the flame to be lit.

Questions to consider:

Have you ever regretted not actively pursuing a friendship or relationship?  Why didn't you pursue it?  Why do you regret not doing so?

If you were to meet someone who seemed to be a potentially "helpful" person, one who might rekindle your spirit, which ways of acting might be appropriate and effective?  What might you say and do to foster the relationship rather than hinder it?

Can you be the flame that rekindles other people's spirits?  How?

For further thought:

It is the individual who is not interested in his or her fellow people who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others.  It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.

Alfred Adler

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