Sitting around a campfire with friends or family often makes me marvel at what an amazing experience it is and why I don’t do it more often. I wonder if it’s because I busy myself with too much. Maybe it’s because scheduling a gathering around the fire is too much of a chore, or because I can’t stand the mosquitoes. Even though our reasons for not getting to the campfire might be a mix of all of those things, we still need to realize the value of the experience. When we start up a campfire, God starts some very interesting soul work that could even be life-changing for us. The following is a list of benefits the campfire provides. Perhaps this post will entice you to go hunt for some twigs, leaves, sticks and a match to put in the campfire ring!
Relaxes Us. You know how it works… Upon arrival at the fire pit with our friends, there’s this frenetic energy as we break out the chairs to position them around the fire. Someone is working hard at the perfect blaze to roast their hotdogs or coffee. Another might be already zoned out on a chair just waiting for that anticipated moment of soul-inquiry bliss when it finally gets dark and the fire is blazing. Once we’re all done with dinner, the fire is not stoked hot, the sun goes down to reveal the night sky and full moon, conversations lose their volume and settle down into stories, songs, ideas, or thoughts of the solving the universal problems of mankind. Ever had one of those moments where around the campfire, a lot of thinking and sharing what¬ever is on the mind begins to come out? It’s a time we get loosened up and relax.
Conversation. Having a focal point like the bright orange embers of a fire to look at seems to take away the distraction of wondering how our comments will be received by those around you. Conversation seems to occur naturally–freely. A healthy tolerance forms as people are allowed freedom to share whatever they want in a non-threatening and non-judgmental way. Even a child appears wise as they are allowed to speak and let their little lights shine.
Reflection. Whether with family, scouts, church, or friends, most of us have camped out in the past, so looking into the fire once more conjures up great memories which compel us to share. Even those not-so-pleasant experiences can be viewed from a different point of view after all these years and often take on a humorous twist.
Expands Your Vision. Being out in nature always rejuvenates and uplifts. As the night sky settles in and the crackling fire produces sparks lifted up toward the sky, our eyes follow those sparks and our attention lifts to the moon and stars above. This transports us into another campfire phase of looking up and pondering the stars and how insignificant we are in this huge universe. The Psalmist said: “The heavens declare the glory of God” in Psalm 19:1. Our vision is expanded as we carry those glorious thoughts toward action when the campfire ends. What Church Leader doesn’t need vision or a fresh perspective from God?
Take Action: Take time to make this happen, and if you have to schedule it, put it on the Google Calendar! Got burn days in your neighborhood? Check in with your local fire station and see when you can have a legal burn pit in your backyard. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you, and so will those who are brought along for the experience.