This week I learned how to start a fire in a wood burning stove. Living most of my life in the city didn’t require in depth knowledge of fire starting (it involves brown paper, kindling and small logs to start, then larger logs to feed the flame). I found I can start a fire like a champ. However, my fires were what my step mom referred to as “cold fires”. Without enough coals at the bottom to sustain a high temperature the furnace won’t get hot enough to warm the house. My previous claim to fire starting abilities is null and void if I can’t keep it going. The ego balloon quickly deflated.
I have provided for myself for many years and rarely asked for help. Being self-reliant was a point of pride. Before moving across the country, my older sister stated that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of humility. At the time I thought I didn’t have an issue. When I needed help I was sure I could ask for it.
Not asking for help happened not once, but twice.
The first time, my step mom came to my rescue. She explained how to get a large bed of coals fiddled with the vents on the furnace and in ten minutes had a roaring fire. I watched trying to commit to memory what she’d done. Later, I thanked her for helping and she responded that I can ask her for help about anything.
The next night, I tried again. Starting the fire, check, but the furnace wouldn’t get hot. There wasn’t the large bed of coals at the bottom as there should be. Asking for help would have been the logical thing to do, but I thought I could figure it out. When my step mom came down to see how it was doing, I told her the fire was fine. It was dying. She kindly stepped in yet again, advising that more wood equals more coals.
In all of this, I realized one thing. I am not all knowing or a wizard that’s able to execute actions after seeing it done once. I was being an idiot and this is my lesson. It had to hit me upside the head twice, but I’m learning the true nature of being Humble.