I found myself alone at home the other night, and realized that it was mid-winter and we had yet to use the fireplace.
Obviously, we have gas logs in our fireplace and decided during one of the last gas rate hikes that the fireplace should only be used on special occasions.
But, could that mean that winter had almost come and gone with no special occasions? Surely not I'm afraid we overlooked them somehow.
There has been a flurry of activity in this crazy house in the last few weeks, with our two oldest kids moving on to the next chapter of their lives. Like a domino effect, the friends that once gathered here with them have scattered as well. Was it just a month ago that we had a house full for a huge party?
How is it possible that all of this happened without it ever dawning on me that it was a special occasion?
So tonight, just for a few moments, I turned on the fireplace. I pondered these questions as the virtual flames climbed around the logs, as if reaching toward me to erase my loneliness. The fire felt very real as I remembered the past, prayed about the future, and remained still for a few minutes in the present.
I'm not sure what took me so long to do this, but it was just what I needed.
Was this moment enough to justify my turning on the fireplace, thus making it a special occasion?
I doubt it - but it was definitely enough to make me promise not to miss any more of them.