The fuel

Paulo Coelho

– Master, what is faith?

The master asked the disciple to light a fire. The two of them sat in front of it and contemplated the flames.

– That is faith – said the master. – It is the firewood in the fire. The fuel that keeps the flame of God alive in our hearts.

– But the firewood needs a spark to change it into light.

– There are many sparks. The most common one is called Will. Just wanting to have faith is enough for it to appear in our path.

– Even when we spend all our life without believing in anything?

– We always believe, even without knowing or accepting it and that is why it is so easy to awaken the spark. And furthermore, the more we live, the closer we grow to God: old firewood burns more easily.

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  1. orly says:

    we should never let sparks shut down,,,, our faith together with love, belief, and caring,,, can help us always to keep on and on this spark to be in our life,,, thats what gives us the power,,,, and this power with hope,,, is essential in our life!

  2. THELMA says:

    The spark in us and the Will to ..become FIRE and LIGHT.
    The aether. The fifth element.

  3. Monika says:

    That’s true.

  4. Alexandra says:

    I like this story.Is really a story that gives us hope,and we need faith more than ever nowadays.

  5. -Moonlight Drive- says:

    There are really many sparks.

  6. Savita Vega says:

    Thank you, dear Paulo. Thank you form the bottom of my heart!

    Such a beautiful passage – so true and so richly poignant for me in this hour.

    And the “old firewood”: this detail, so strikes a chord of familiarity with me. Almost every day I build a fire in my fireplace. The wood I have this year was left over from last. This year I had no green wood to mix with it. Almost everyone who comes by says, “You need some green wood. Look – how fast the fire burns!” And my reply is, “Yes, but look how easy it is to start the fire.” Last year I had only green wood, no dry wood to mix with it, and every time I went to start a fire, it was a struggle. I would strike match after match, even use up all my kindling, and nothing. The green logs would only smolder a bit, then go out. A mixture is nice, but if I have to choose between, I’ll take the dry wood over the green anytime.

    “Faith – the firewood in the fire. The fuel that keeps the flame of God alive in our hearts.” So that is why, the older I get, the more I feel I’m catching fire. In my youth, I believed in nothing…or perhaps everything…in things that did not matter, or things that tended to shatter when too much weight was placed upon them. I did not know that there was someone else in charge here besides me. So, when things fell apart, or my desires were not fulfilled, I was alone. I had no foundation to stand upon. I simply sunk, like one cast into quicksand. I had no idea that there was some larger plan and that each turn of events represented only a bend in the road, not the culmination of the quest. Everything I reached out for or longed for seemed and end in itself. So, when I did not get what I wanted, or when the end I expected did not arrive, it seemed to me the world had come to an end. Now, the only thing I stick to with enormous tenacity is God. All else whirls around that centerpoint. Things come, things go, they build up and they crash down, but I stand somehow unscathed, at my very core, completely unmoved, clinging to (stuck to, as though with some form of spiritual double-stick tape) that pillar at the center of the spinning world. Life now is ever so much more peaceful. Not because I want less. In fact, I think I want more. I think I expect more of life than I did back then. It is peaceful because now I have this unshakable certitude that, no matter how life appears on the surface, all is going along precisely as it should – someone else here is in charge of the larger picture, the greater plan. In a sense, all I have to do is observe. That, and fulfill a series of relatively minor duties. I need not be concerned with how it all works out, because, ultimately, that is not up to me. It is completely out of my hands. So, with this view, life becomes amusing. You just never know what God is going to do, or what sort of amazing encounter you’re going to have next. And you also know that whatever happens, despite how it looks on the surface, it happens for the best, and if you only sit back for a while and observe how the events will unfold, you will recognize this in due time. Yes, growing (old) is a beautiful thing!