Woman on fire

My husband, daughter and I watched the Olympic opening ceremony twice–once after putting the little ones to bed, and again the next morning. And while I love James Bond as much as the next girl and remain hopelessly addicted to the British sense of humor, my favorite part of the evening revolved around the elements of fire. 

I teared up when the five rings rose and hovered above the spectators showering them with spark and flame. I blinked hard when torch bearers ran with arms extended, holding their light up to a dark sky, and again when they lit the copper petals and the flames jumped from petal to petal, rising high into the night. I can’t recall the last time I saw art come alive in that way. I can’t recall the last time I saw people come alive in that way either. 
Could you see the fire in their eyes? The athletes with their beautiful bodies and a flame of hope burning in their chest? They live alive and aflame, knowing they are doing exactly what they are created to do. They run and leap and swim and twirl and show the glory of a body moving in ways the rest of us can only imagine–their bodies creating a temple for the flame. 
I’m not an athlete, not really. My body moves in one direction–forward, and even that at an extremely slow pace. But, I don’t need to be an athlete to recognize the flame because I feel its white heat burning in my own chest. I know what it feels like to desperately want to live wide awake and to fear a sleeping soul. I know the desire to live outside of the confines of my own limitations, to be free to chase after the thing I’m created to do. I know the fire, and I hope to be a temple for the flame. 
The fire doesn’t come without pain, without burn out and strained muscles and utter exhaustion. It arrives a small flame and at first, we carry it within. As we put in the hard work and stoke the flame, it grows large enough for us to carry, arms extended, for others to see against a blackened sky. We run with the light, bending to touch the flame to the petals, watching the glow spread until we set this world on fire.