Place, belonging, warmth, light abundant in darkness- these are part of what contribute to my enjoyment of bonfires; the human component is primary, the presence of others whose faces and souls add to the fire itself by joining in a circle-testifying to life by telling of tales, and by listening to the telling of them.
I've been invited to such an event this weekend. A friend whose property is spacious and a near perfect setting is hosting a group of friends to come sit and sup by the fire. There'll be no city lights interfering with the blackness of the night sky. Sparks can fly upward, free to be. As with the fire, I feel freer to be in that circle of belonging.
One of my truest longings is the notion of campfires in heaven. As with the gatherings here, on earth, it is not just the fire itself that is attractive, but characters in the play. Often, I ponder what it might be like to sit and sup in Eternity with the likes of Flannery O'Connor, Mrs. Betty Williams, the Good Thief, Johnny Cash, my Aunt Dot, and, say, William F. Buckley.
Given more time, I could come up with dozens of variables of dozens of groups. Saints whose only hope has always been Jesus. What we might discuss, bat around and laugh about often run across the screen in my mind's eye.
The hope of this soon to be bonfire, this earthly one, is a sweet foreshadowing of eternal meetings. It is indeed good to be warmed, to hear and tell a tale, and to belong. For these and countless other gifts, I give thanks to God, the giver.