real fireplace

A Real Fireplace

Of the improvements we made in our little bungalow, a useful one was installing a set of gas logs in the handsome fireplace that dominates our living room. What we installed gives warmth of a fire – but alas, it does not smell or sound like a fire. Deficiencies I accept since I don’t have to dicker with the deliveryman on the quality or cost of the wood; I don’t have to make wood runs to the yard. And I don’t have to clean up the ashes.

What a luxury!  But with a few years wear and tear, few folks look at the logs and ask if it’s a real fireplace. (It’s real enough, however, when ice storms have snapped our power from us!)

Still the question, Is it real? is a funny one to ask, and fun to think about an answer.

What if I said, No, we don’t have a fireplace?

Or, Oh good, you see it too –some people can’t see it.

I might have too much time on my hands, huh? But questioning the realness of something is a failing with which I sympathize because at the root is wanting to know how genuine a thing is.

Our gas logs give out heat, they aren’t a computer image flickering behind a glass screen. They are real – but not real wood; the fire is real – it burns as hot as crackly wood . . . but it can’t consume the ceramic logs the way a real fire would consume wood.

These are interesting times indeed when more and more things [can be made to] look like the real thing, but aren’t.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. ~Philip K. Dick

Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God. ~Augustine


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