Flicker

I've been sitting here, zoning out for the past ten minutes. Just staring at the candle burning a few feet away. Watching the tiny flame. Thinking.

I've been doing that a lot lately, this thinking. Not that I haven't always been the most introspective person I know, but I find it's taken on a new level this past week, even in my own cluttered head.

So I'm staring. At the candle. At the flame. Thinking, and trying not to think. A flame is a tragedy and a triumph, both in one. Watching a tiny flame struggle to stay alight gives me the same feeling I get when I see a small animal has been hurt on the side of the road, or when I hear a baby crying in loneliness. It's a tragedy on a small scale, the entire scope of human existence ensconced in a chemical reaction of sulphur and oxygen.

A flame doesn't know its end will be within a few short hours. It doesn't care. It just burns all the brighter. Fate has decided its life will be dedicated to one purpose, and one purpose only. It may not even fulfill that purpose, and that life will be short. But it doesn't care. It just...burns. Burns and blazes the best it can. And that is a triumph.

I admire it.

I'm sitting here, watching this tiny flame flickering and glowing, and I admire it. I'm jealous. Some of us are like that flame. We feel we were put here on this earth for one purpose, one use, and to not fulfill that is heartbreaking to us. We lose our way. We lose ourselves. Even to the point of giving up, sometimes. When we feel we're not doing what we were meant to do, not getting there fast enough, we start to feel the walls of our prisons close in on us. Like a cage. Like the curving glass walls by which the flame is trapped. Unlike us, however, the flame doesn't care if it's bound by glass. Doesn't care if it has no other use other than to burn, and light the lives of others. To a flame, that's enough.

It's enough that it creates a little bit of light in the darkness, because sometimes, a bit of light is all we need to get us through this often miserable life. This miserable, sometimes cruel, dragging, inexplicably unpredictable life. A little bit of lightness. A little bit of laughter. A little bit of love. It's a rare gift, to be able to give this light, and a flame never forgets it. It burns, burns, burns, does what it was put here to do, simply because it's the only thing that can. Simply because it can. Because if it didn't, the world would be a dark place. Because if it didn't, so many people would be left without a bit of light, maybe when they need it most.

Move it, and it burns. See it caught by a breeze, and it burns. Leave it alone, and it burns. The flame might bend, the flame might dim down to the point of almost disappearing, but it will never just...stop. Not until it's fulfilled what it was made to do. Not if you just set it alight and let it do its thing. The flame just wants to burn. Just wants to burn and light the way.

We don't know how lucky we are, sometimes. How damn lucky we are, just to be able to draw breath. To be able to have a purpose in life. Even if it's one sole purpose. Even if we don't feel we're not fulfilling that purpose fast enough. Even if we want to rage against God because we can't, in our small human scope, see what his plan is for us. Even if it seems as though he has no plan for us at all. Or Fate, if you'd rather. Or chance, destiny, or inevitability of ka. Or just the random, unfeeling whims of the universe at large. I am still not sure I know, and I'd be pretentious to assume I did.

Even so, sometimes I feel I am so damn lucky to the point it brings tears to my eyes. To not be one of the lost souls who drift through life, without a purpose, without direction, without even a dream to hold to. The ones who are truly lost. They don't even have a candle to burn for them, something to light the way.

I want to be that candle for them. I want to be a heartbreaking, eternal Phoenix for them. I want to lift up my arms to the sun, to the moon, and fucking blaze for them. If I do nothing else in this fucked-up, beautiful life, I want to burn and blow apart and become tiny, flaming particles of fire in the dark for them.

Sometimes, I forget how lucky I am to just be able to breathe deep in the morning, and feel the sun on my face. Sometimes, it takes something as small as the tears in another's eyes to remind me.

Or a tiny candle flame.