Choosing the right firewood

I love a real fire in the fireplace with the crackling wood. There are different stages of making a fire in the fireplace. My ritual each morning during this wintertime is to warm up the house with a fire to start my day by sitting and sipping my morning coffee as I gaze into the warm flames. However, you must know what you are doing. You must know what will work and in what order. You must be patient and accept possible initial failure.

For example, you don’t start with large logs. They won’t easily catch fire. You begin with small kindling and slowly build up with larger and yet larger pieces of wood until you have a hot bed of coal that will ignite the larger logs. In the more advanced classes, you must know what type of wood is best for burning, but we’ll save that for another time.

Now, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. However, strangely enough with more available gas fires igniting with a flip of the switch, it can prove harder than it seems when faced with a match in hand and a stack of wood. But there is no equal substitute for a real wood fire.

It can also prove harder if we want to have a shortcut to have an instant fire. Sometimes these shortcuts will work, but the risk for failure is higher and it can be more dangerous.

What does it take to do the right steps?

First, you must have patience. You must nurse the flames to become hotter and bigger to keep the wood ignited.

Secondly, you must be persistent. If you want the warm fire, you must be focused and reactive to getting the fire you want. It just doesn’t happen. (Unless you like the “flip a switch” gas fire).

Thirdly, you must be constantly attentive and feed the fire with wood and air to keep the flames high giving off the warmth, beauty and comfort.

Isn’t it odd that these same principles can apply to our relationships, our communities, our nation and our spiritual health?  

By Retired Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Ray Bailey

Former Deputy Chief of Chaplains