It was unmistakable yesterday that it was the fourth of July. Even during the day, the firecrackers were going off. Out of the silence of the moment: BOOM! And then as night came on, the rapidity of the BOOM became noticeable. Some were far off. Some sounded like a bunch of kids were sitting under my bedroom window lighting those things. And then during the peak of the night, not only could you hear the frequent BOOM, but the night’s sky would temporarily light up.
I am not a big firecracker guy and could easily do without the BOOM. But I will admit that the sudden light in the sky is captivating. And the colors, which explode into the pitch darkness, are lovely. I cannot help but watch and be fascinated with that. It is not as good as a rainbow, but it is good.
But so what, I thought. July 4 comes and goes. There is nothing spiritual in it for me. Does that mean, then, there is no spiritual reflective possibility for me to take from the day? Then it occurred to me. Maybe life is like a firecracker! That may be a little too corny, but let’s see. I like the challenge.
So let’s assume that you and I (and every other person) is a firecracker. I have one life to live, just as the firecracker has but one chance to go BOOM and, perhaps, illuminate. If I ponder a little further, I realize that a firecracker is pure potentiality until it is lit. I can hold it in my hand. I could throw it up in the sky, but without lighting it, nothing will happen. The potentiality remains just that: potentiality.
So it is that each of us is born into life. I like to think I arrived in this world with a significant dose of potentiality. My potentiality was not gunpowder or some similar explosive. But I had explosive potentiality, just like you do and, I affirm, everyone does. The only question is whether that potentiality will be ignited and actualized?
With the firecracker, it is simple. You hold the thing, light a match, touch the fuse, and throw it! You get the BOOM…and maybe a little flash of light. If the firecracker is bigger, so will the BOOM be. And the really big ones will light the sky spectacularly with color.
And so it can be with my life. I would suggest that the Spirit of God plays the role of the match. God might ignite me directly…light my spiritual fuse. Or probably for many of us, it was an indirect light. It might be a teacher, a parent, a friend, or an experience. It might be gradual, not instantaneous. But when we are ignited, the power of our potentiality becomes actualized.
Firecrackers explode. Our lives explode into expressions of the Spirit. Our lives become the sounds of the Spirit. Our lives become the work of the Spirit. We can bring light, color, and the spectacle into a world of darkness, drabness, and depression. Our mission is not a one-night show. Our mission is a daily go…go for it again and again with all the divine gusto God gives to us.
One last thing occurs to me. The big bummer with a firecracker is to realize you have a dud! You hold it, you light it…and nothing happens: no BOOM, no light, nothing. Sadly, the same thing can happen in life.
You and I are not born to be duds. God endows each of us with possibility and potentiality. But we can choose to do nothing: no BOOM, no light, nothing. We can become duds!
You know, life is like a firecracker! Don’t be a dud!