“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
— Albert Schweitzer
Many of us have heard the story before. It takes many forms, and has a variety of characters, but the most basic elements illustrate a frazzled young man heading home from school, carrying the contents of what appears to be his entire locker. He meets another student, a stranger who normally goes home a different way but has chosen to walk that afternoon as well. The stranger offers to carry half of his belongings, sharing the load with his new friend. They spend the afternoon together and form the beginnings of a life-long friendship. It will not be for many years that the stranger learns the reason the boy was carrying every school possession he had was because he felt so alone, so completely isolated from the world, that he intended to kill himself that afternoon and he wanted to save his mother the pain of having to clean out his locker. The simple actions of the stranger stopped the boy in his tracks and forced him to reevaluate his plan to harm himself.
While not all of us have been at the same low point the young man was at, we have all felt the fire in our spirits turned to a dull light. We can feel an ache, an emptiness where that fire once burned strongly. Perhaps we lost a close friend or family member; maybe we simply are just struggling. Whatever the reason, we often find ourselves lost and lonely before we are jolted back into the land of the living by the words or actions of another.
We need to be thankful for those around us. God did not intend us to live in total isolation. He knows the needs humans have for interaction. It is these moments of that contact and relationships that remind us we are not living this life alone. So, take the time to say thank you to someone who has impacted your life or be aware of how you react to others. You could be the catalyst that sparks the fire within.