Yes, yes, I know my house is on fire…

…I’m just not sure I’m ready to leave it yet.

I could be so happy if I just quit being sad
I could be so funny if I just quit being a drag
I could be so sweet if I just quit being sour
I could do all these things oh I have the power

Could Be So Happy
Heartless Bastards (2009)

If I tell the truth, I had been smelling the smoke for quite a while before I noticed the flames. You know how it is. You hear about these things, but you don’t think it’s going to happen to you.

I thought maybe it wasn’t what it looked like and I could just wait it out.

A fireman comes in from time to time and tells me I should leave. I always say to the fireman, Why don’t you put some water on it?

It’s not that kind of fire, he says.

It’s alright. Where I come from no one can save you against your will.

I don’t want to be a bother, but all my things are in here. I’ve got this chair I like to sit on. Though it’s not what it used to be, what with all the commotion.

A piece of the ceiling fell down yesterday and nearly hit me.

It gets harder to stay comfortable.

My memories are in here, and I like to spend time with my memories. Some of them are painful of course. And you know, it’s funny, but it’s the painful ones that seem to come around the most.

In here I can think about things in a certain way. I like to size things up quickly. People, too. One quick look and I know all I need to know. I have lots of things figured out.

I have my ways.

It’s been told to me that we are our thoughts
and memories… are thoughts we’ve had before
and all the things we think we have
are just the thoughts we’ve had before

and so we are our thoughts… and what we think we are.

And every time I think of that, a fireman smashes in the same damn window with an ax and says in a whisper like a scream… It’s not like that and you know it.

I don’t know which is worse, the fire or the people trying to save me from it.

If I take my eyes out of focus a little, the embers on the carpet look like stars.

Maybe this house isn’t perfect. But it’s safe. Or it was.

And I know when it started too. I heard about a monk who sat down on a busy street corner and set himself on fire. For a principle.

He poured gasoline over his head and lit it with a Bic. He turned himself into a flame and burned to ash. He burned himself down to the ground in compassion.

And I’ve smelled smoke ever since.

Lord, but it’s hot in here.

What if I did leave, what then? All I’d know for sure is that I’d be leaving.

I won’t deny that something oddly peaceful compels me forward.

I didn’t want to tell you this at first, but somewhere along the line an EXIT sign appeared above my door. I can see its glow through the haze.

And that’s not the end of it. Sometimes it doesn’t say exit.

Sometimes it says FREEDOM.

Sometimes it says LIBERATION.

Sometimes it says I AM.

Sometimes it says LOVE.

Sometimes it says GRACE.

Sometimes it says… nothing.

And now I must confess something else to you.

I’ve become rather sure that there are no firemen outside.


4 responses to “Yes, yes, I know my house is on fire…

  1. From the fire and the ashes rises the Phoenix; reborn in all its brilliance.

    Fire purifies, mends wounds, eases pains.

    Fire cleans out that which is no longer needed; brings clarity.

    Fire knows what we do and don’t need; even if we don’t know or want to admit.

    From death comes rebirth, a chance to begin anew.

    You are being given a gift; a grand adventure has been laid before you.
    Your feet are simply waiting for you to take that first step. They’re itchin to walk, to test out the new shoes and see how they fare on the new road.

    Your path is there, you just need to open your eyes and see it. Open your eyes and look with your whole heart, your whole soul. Your way is clear and beautiful, if only you would stop squinting and looking at it sideways.

    Take a deep breath and jump into the deep end. The water is cool and refreshing, once you get over the initial shock that it’s so deep and dark.

    Here in the deep end you’ll find peace. Here in the deep end you’ll be surrounded by love and grace and a new sense of freedom. No one will let you drown. No one will pull you under.

    Here in the deep end, you’ll see that fire can spring to life from water…that the phoenix not only can swim but can rise and soar…


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