I know, right? What the junk do wood-burning stoves have to do with corsets? I can totally connect the dots here for you! So, today I turned on the heat in our house for the very first time this season. I waddled over to the little magical box on the wall, pushed some little rubber buttons until I saw the right number, then walked away to go and find something to eat in the hateful fridge of broken promises. And you know what? I found myself ashamed.
I grew up in a family of 8 kids, and quite frankly, we all had to work our bums off. Our big house that my dad built with his own hands and genius was fueled by one single, mediocre wood-burning stove. We lived on a 63 acre farm, half woods, half pasture, and we hauled, sawed, chopped, and burned fuel from our own land. I know, I know, this is beginning to sound like a "And then we walked uphill both ways through the 6 feet of snow" type of story, but seriously, I LOVED going on chopping wood expeditions. It's when my siblings and I would make up the very best Disney song parodies, and when we could feel united and knit together in a common alliance of hatred for slivers, wet wood, and biting cold.
So many occasions found my attitude sour and my vigor lacking when it came to chopping wood. I would have much rather stayed inside, sewing horrendously nerdy clothing to wear to high school or strumming around on my guitar and writing tortured teenage angst songs. However, there was this task that NEEDED to be done for our family to survive....literally. My parents couldn't have afforded a gas bill, nor would I have wanted them to! They had strong able workers, a chainsaw, and trees galore! My gratitude for this is so deep that it runs through all of my veins. Because I learned to work, REALLY work, I was able to have the fortitude, courage, ethics, and determination to start a company.
It seems like the attitude of the general population is to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. Heaven forbid we suffer a little, don't get our every need and desire met, or have to endure heartache and disappointment. "Save us all" from being offended, or having our tender little feelings hurt! Holy Crap, guys, that's life! It's what makes life rich and rewarding in the end!! Having to face failure, rejection and cruel reality is integral to shaping us into the people we need to be!!! The more we desperately try to stave off any negative experiences, the more we rob ourselves blind. I want to be the kind of person that looks pain squarely in the face, pushes my way through, and comes out triumphant at the end! I don't want my motivations to come from fear....I want to be fueled by an inner strength that propels me forward, heals me, and then in turn, helps others!
I'm fond of thinking of this in terms of black-smithing. The raw metals need to be heated up in a roaring hot furnace and then beaten repeatedly to become useful tools. I would tend to say that human beings are the same way. Have you ever seen an "underdog" type of feel-good movie where there was a guy who always got his way and never had problems, and then..uh....kept getting his way....and then...won in the end? Nope, it's always more of a "triumph" of the human spirit when the blind guy with no legs, dying of cancer ends up winning the race and getting the hot girl in the end! Yay!!
So, in ending, I want to encourage you all to start chopping your own wood and heating your houses with it! Nah....that may be a little dramatic. Hmm....the next time you're in physical or emotional pain....sit back and examine it. Figure out and articulate why it sucks so bad. Relish in it. Revel in it. It's just pain. Don't be afraid. You can make it into either your greatest enemy or your most useful friend. Listen to it and what it's trying to say, and then pick yourself back up and move forward. You might just "fuel" your own dreams.