It’s dark. The wind rustles in the trees over head. The light from the fire glows upon the twelve faces sitting in a circle. All women. All tired from a long day in the wilderness. All tired from their heavy burdens. Some are fiddling with sticks in the dirt. Eyes cast downward. Some are gazing into the fire, watching sparks crackle and vanish into the night sky like fireflies. Some are looking into the eyes of the girl who is speaking. She’s voicing her fears, her hopes, her deepest thoughts.
I present a question: What is love?
The bodies stir, the mood shifts. She watches the fire flicker before she answers.
“Romance? Love is that fuzzy feeling they talk about in the movies.”
Another voice rises from across the fire.
“Love is cherishing something so dearly. Love is fighting for what you believe in. Turn’s out, I always lose the battle.”
I pose another question.
Do you love yourself?
Silence. Except for the faint sounds of the popping fire.
Finally, a small voice is expelled from a small girl, head down and legs crossed.
“How can we love ourselves? You’ve heard our stories.”
You can love yourselves. It’s possible. I love myself because I have a story. A story that for better or worse created the person I am today. I am alive.
I am a firefly. And I will let my light shine.
Fireflies Aren’t Meant to Live in Jars.