Recuperating from knee surgery, I sat out on the patio and watched a stray hummingbird moth look for last vestige of food, knowing it would be in vain due to our recent cold snap here in New Mexico. Poor thing, even though such moths are quite furry, I knew it had to be cold. As I threw on my sweatshirt and lit the kiva, I couldn’t help but be thankful for the chilly weather for the balloonists in the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. The pilots like cool weather, blue skies and low wind. Of course, the burners have to work properly for the balloon to work properly. That’s a given. The Burner is the engine of the hot air balloon. It’s what propels the hot air up into the envelope to make the balloon rise.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t naturally think of the popular phrase, “like a moth to a flame,” with the scenes playing out before me.
Perhaps it’s the meds I’ve been on or the pain I’ve experienced recently, in one form or another, that’s caused me to ponder life a bit more philosophically. The word moth was used in the 17th century to mean someone who was apt to be tempted by something that would lead to their downfall. This is referred to by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, 1596:
"Thus hath the candle singed the moth."
Perhaps ol’ Bill was onto something. Perhaps he was bold enough to give meaning to something in which so many wrestle.
Can you relate to any of these?
- Your doctor tells you repeatedly to lay off the sugar since you’re a diabetic. But surely, eating just one of those Pumpkin Maple Krispy Kremes won’t hurt.
- You can’t help but get on Facebook and exchange messages with “someone.” They make you feel wanted. For a while…
- Although your budget won’t allow it, you cannot resist purchasing that gorgeous sweater. It’s your favorite color, after all. Your checkbook, unfortunately, ends up in the red.
- You can’t stand people who gossip, but suddenly can’t resist making a few phone calls to confirm suspicions about a friend. Just a few calls won’t hurt. Your “concern,” got back to your friend, causing great harm and mistrust.
- You arrange a clandestine meeting with someone, feeling an adrenaline rush at what’s you’re about to get away with. The rush hits rock bottom as your secret is exposed.
Like a moth to a flame…
So often we’re drawn to the heat, only to get too close and have our wings painfully singed. Ahem, why can’t we never learn? If one considers such a mindset and takes it to the extreme, it’s really not much different than criminals who are repeat offenders or those who become drug addicts. While I realize the inability to resist a donut or to keep one’s distance from a swoon worthy individual isn’t the same as bank robbery or illicit drug use, the dopamine and adrenaline rush is quite similar. It’s also a good reason as to why NONE of us should judge the actions of others.
Temptation comes in many forms.
But let me clear, the pendulum can also swing too far in the other direction. Many fail to take chances of the heart, won’t dare venture into unknown territory, and deny themselves experiences that could be life-changing in a good way. Some, like Kelly Clarkson sang, “never stray too far from the sidewalk” or “plays on the safe side so they won’t get hurt.” This writer of words has never quite lived by this philosophy and yes, on occasion, I’ve had regrets like anyone else. But not many…
For sure, it’s a fine line of just how close to the flame that dreaded moth wants to get…
But what if we were able to harness the “heat,” just as the hot air balloon pilots dotting my skyline? What if the tempting flames which cause us to lose sleep, gain weight, and even get our hearts broken could be used in more productive ways that bring us joy? What if rather than inching closer and closer to temptation, we gather our strength and whisper to our weak self, “Not today. No, no, not today.” With God’s strength and time spent on our knees, we can harness the right kind of heat to cause our spirit to soar and our conscience light as air.
And if you’re one who’s reluctant about taking healthy risks, perhaps you can ask God for strength in conquering your fears. White knuckle that basket and climb into the balloon! Harness the flames that will put you in the right direction and then 1,2,3.. GO!
Cherish the view in how far you’ve come.
"The darkness of clouds may surround her, but she will be filled with hope. The storms may seem destructive but they are merely clearing the path for greater beauty."
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