Friday, July 30, 2010

Serving Others Through My Imperfections

Giving and Receiving Gifts

I was doing some journeywork this past weekend, and noticed something interesting on my hearth. One of the three candles seemed to have a flaw in it. It was new, freshly lit. For some reason it was burning unevenly. It seemed to have a weak spot, and suddenly there was a river of wax pouring out and down the side.

Now, those who buy candles know that beeswax candles aren't cheap, and one wants to get the most out of them. Wasted wax is wasted money. So I got a little annoyed and tried to plug the leak, pinch the wax, etc., etc.

No luck. And then I noticed something else. The wax was running down the side of the candle and feeding an older, very loyal, long-used candle. You can see this in the picture. The candle in the foreground used to be as tall as the candle on the left, many many months ago.

See the aqua pool of liquid wax in the white candle?

I looked more closely at the scene. The imperfection of the aqua candle was creating a beautiful sculptured form of wax, while at the same time feeding, nourishing, and helping it's elder neighbor.

I was reminded of the rune Kano (Opening), which counsels,

"Recognize that while on the one hand you are limited and dependent, on the other you exist at the perfect center where the harmonious and beneficent forces of the universe merge and radiate."

Every time I read that sentence, I think of how my imperfectness - my inability to do everything myself, perfectly, on demand - creates room for others around me to demonstrate, exercise, and share their gifts. In a weird and humbling way, my imperfections can be a gift to others, creating opportunity for fulfillment and growth.

As I'm writing this, I notice something else about Kano that I have never fully contemplated, but seems astonishingly appropriate. It's other monikers are Torch and Fire (and here I am contemplating candles). It also counsels,

"This is the Rune of Opening and renewed clarity, of dispelling the darkness that has been shrouding some part of your life. You are free now both to receive gifts and to know the joy of non-attached giving."

What is "waste"? What is an "imperfection"? I don't know anymore.

What is a gift? This, I'm beginning to discover.