Sitting down by a fire, is probably the oldest form of organization known by man. Humans can warm themselves with the fire. And just like we’re doing right now, people have the tendency to stare into the flames.
With this staring into the flames we conceal our eyes and faces from each other. And the concealing of the eyes makes it possible for humans to talk about subjects which wouldn’t come up in conversation during the daytime. During the daytime, we speak to each other directly, looking each other in the face.
The fire gives room for subjects of uncertainty, guilt, shame or maybe of doubt.
The dark conceals our faces, but the flickering light of the flames makes it also possible to gradually reveal our emotions. During this gradual revelation of who we really are, what we care about, we can bent away from the bright light, heat or smoke. This gives us a sense of control on the swiftness we give away our deepest thoughts, and the speed with which we unlock our souls.
In our Dutch society speed, candidness and directness is valued. But maybe in our hearts we miss the safety to be free from judgment, and need more time and security to open up. Safety to make the unknown and unspeakable prevalent. To interact with someone, a human soul, who also knows his or hers sorrows and uncertainties in life.
Let us then celebrate these moments together. But also, Let us smoke cigarettes, cigars, have a drink or a cup of coffee on these unattended island of qualitative interaction in time. Let us get to know the other you. This other you we yearn for so much in our lives. Be candid, be outspoken, and be careful with those things you value the most.
For now, Enjoy the conversation. And foremost enjoy the fire!
For coalition forces Dutch soldiers organized a Cigar Night. As their Chaplain, I was asked to make a speech.