I thought about fireflies today.
When I was a kid, I wanted so desperately for them to light up my room at night. Just once, I longed to turn out the lights at bed time and have the jar shine like stars. A tiny piece of summer heaven to lull me to sleep.
Countless nights throughout so many summers, I collected fireflies and carefully placed them in the discarded baby food jars that my dad and I had meticulously prepared for them. We would use a nail and hammer to make the proper sized breathing holes in the lid and I filled the jars with fresh grass and leaves. Try as I might to provide a welcoming home, those little bugs simply could not survive in those jars. Even if they could have, I don't think that they would have brought me the joy that I imagined.
There is something magical about how fireflies illuminate a warm night. Something illusive and serene, like stars twinkling within our reach, a place to rest our hopes and dreams. But just like the fireflies, the magic dies in jars.
It's what so many of us do in love. We want to be collectors more than participants, we want for our darkness to be interrupted. We do our best to provide comfortable amenities in hopes that we can be persuasive and enticing. The truth is that the only way that anyone, firefly or man, can really thrive is when he feels free to do so by choice. Force and guilt ruin the simplest joy.
Because without fear, there is no force or duty or persuasion or enticement. All is secure. Even when it's not, because we have faith that it is enough.