Thursday, 1 November 2012

Candles, plasticine and clay!

One morning when busy vacuuming in the dining room, I happened to glance at the candles in the candlesticks on the dining table. I looked at the melted wax that had, like the lava of a volcano, run down the candlestick in its molten state to finally solidify at the base. I thought about how there is a point when before the wax cools, it is possible to mould it and determine the final shape that the wax will take on. I know this as it's a habit of mine to play with the soft wax and make shapes with it! Once the candle is lit, it has no control over its fate or final shape.

This got me thinking! Sometimes we encounter difficulties in our lives when it seems as if someone or something has set us alight and we can't control what is happening to us. We watch helplessly as our life as we had envisaged it takes on a completely new shape. It's easy to think that at these times all we can do is hope that the final outcome is one that we are happy with.

But does it have to be this way? Unlike the candle we don't have to just stay put and wait for the inevitable. We have the choice to  change our circumstances. We don't have to just stand there and take it. Sometimes it just requires us to make a small adjustment in the way we do things. Other times we may be faced with the prospect of a major change. It's how we approach these trials that is the important thing.

As I was pondering on these things, I had a picture of a lump of plasticine and one of clay pop into my head! When a child plays with plasticine he/she can make anything they want. If they're not happy with it, they can just squash it up and start again. To me this is like being willing to be flexible and willing to change. On the other hand if you make something with clay, a pot or a bowl for example, if you're not happy with it there's not really anything you can do about it, except break it. If we can be more like plasticine and view adverse circumstances as a time when we can make changes instead of fighting them, we can use them to change us for the better.

One thing I think is very important, is to surround yourself with people you love and trust. It doesn't need to be a lot of people, A couple of well chosen friends or a supportive partner can be enough. If you have such people in your life, then when you are going through a 'melting process', they can help. When you are feeling vulnerable and tender, they can be there to help you to make the right decisions and changes that will help you to come out of the other side of the painful, difficult times a better, stronger person.

Candles have long been regarded as symbolic. We light them in remembrance or as a prayer for those we've lost. From now on I'll see them as a reminder that although there have been times in my life that have been hard and painful, I have survived. Not in the same shape as I was before perhaps, but hopefully a stronger, wiser person. I'll think of them as a symbol that difficult circumstances can sometimes be an opportunity.



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