Throughout my life, I’ve had several near-death experiences. The tale that I’m about to recount is an experience where I should have been more injured than I had been, and it’s also a significant example of what-not-to-do at a bonfire. *Do not put yourself in danger to test if your Divine Guides will protect you. Do not put yourself in danger for any reason.* This is my personal recollection of an event that took place that is still, to this day, very bizarre to me. I’m sharing this story, because I’ve been reflecting on what took place from a spiritual level. What we did was not safe, and I don’t condone our behavior or decisions.
I was accidentally burned at a bonfire hangout in the summer of 2013.
My friend had invited me over to his relatives’ house for a small bonfire get-together with two of our other friends. I said yes, because 1) I had enough alcohol (alcohol was a big factor in my socialization during this time in my life which I may discuss in future posts), 2) I liked these three friends together, and 3) I was up for a small hangout instead of a huge party for that night.
In the same phone call where my friend invited me to this bonfire, he told me he was going to pick me up in a few minutes. This was a very short notice hangout, so I had to get ready to go pretty fast. All I needed to do was grab my vodka bottle for the night and change my outfit.
During the few minutes that it took my friend to show up in his car, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear jeans or shorts. I didn’t want to be too hot next to the fire, and I also didn’t want to be too cold. My friend called me and told me he was waiting outside, but I still couldn’t decide what to wear. I was making my friend wait too long for me, so I finally just decided on shorts. I think I only chose to wear the shorts, because the voice in my head said to, not because I actually wanted to.
My friend picked up my two other friends and we arrived at the bonfire location. The bonfire pit was very small, and only about 2 feet diameter. This was all right, because there was only 4 of us; however, because the fire pit was smaller, I figured it was okay to be closer to the fire…
My two friends and I were talking and sitting on log that were lying close to the bonfire pit, as my friend who had invited us all there tried to start the fire. It took a while for the fire to get started, because it was pretty dark to see the fire starting supplies, and the entire hangout had been pretty spontaneously planned with little preparation. Once he got the fire started, the flames were still pretty small.
After about ten minutes, my friend had an idea to make the fire bigger by pouring flammable fluid onto it. (Never do this.) I wasn’t paying attention to my friend when he was pouring fluid onto the fire, because I was looking at and talking to my other friends. I was sitting right next to the fire, facing it, straight on, only my head was slightly turned. Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I see a big explosion of light in front of me. Even though I didn’t know what was actually happening in that exact moment, my brain put together that I might be on fire, so I instantly remembered to stop, drop, and roll, which I did.
In the couple seconds where I stopped, dropped, and rolled, I had nanosecond flashbacks to various points of time. I had a flashback to being in kindergarten when we first learned about this method, and I saw my young classmates playfully rolling around the floor, smiling and laughing. I had flashbacks to all of the other times in my life where I had been afraid of fire. When I was about 8 years old, I was afraid of my house spontaneously catching on fire while I slept at night. I had a flashback to when I was a teenager at my friend’s house looking into a bonfire and being so in awe at the beauty of the flames and how the ambers glowed inside. In the present moment, while I rolled on the grass, which felt really cold, away from the fire, I thought about my relationship with fire. I considered how I always knew I was going to get burned at some point in my life, but I didn’t know when.
I didn’t think I was actually on fire once I stopped rolling. I didn’t roll that far away. When I remembered where I was and what just happened, I wasn’t in shock, but my mind was slowly coming back from the various life flashbacks I just saw. My friends asked me if I was okay and if I was hurt. They seemed far more concerned and scared than I was.
I told them I didn’t think I was hurt, but I looked down at my legs to look for any burns. I noticed that my left leg felt really warm. My friend turned his phone flashlight to look at my leg, and we could see that my left shin was burned.
I didn’t tell my parents about my leg, and I kept it hidden from them for 2 weeks while I took care of it myself (Never do this). My mother found out about it through my friend’s mother, and I went to the clinic to get my burn checked. The nurses declared I experienced third degree burns, and they were surprised with how well I took care of my leg. The burns healed, my scars have faded significantly, and I have this story. I think of the event as something meaningful, even though my friends are still quite traumatized after witnessing the whole thing. I still have questions about how it all happened though:
- If I had decided to wear jeans earlier that night, would I have been injured more? Would the jeans have caught on fire differently?
- Even though I was sitting very close and was directly facing the fire, why was only my left front shin burned, but no where else on my body?
- Why have I always had a feeling that I was going to be burned someday? I think almost everyone has that fear in their minds, but I feel that I’ve always known.
- During the time when I was hiding my burn, I took care of it very well. I have no medical experience, especially no experience with treating burns, but I did it well.
A few weeks after what happened to me, a girl my age from a few towns away had also experienced an unfortunate bonfire incident. At this bonfire, she had gotten horribly burned from her chest, all the way up her neck, to the top of her head. She had to shave her head, have surgery, and stay in the hospital for a while. I thought about how my experience could have been much, much worse than it was. I took this as a message that I should be grateful to be healthy and alive. It was also a message of how even while I was being extremely careless and reckless, I was being looked out for.
Looking back now, I do feel that I was protected that night. Maybe it was My Team, or maybe I was protecting myself. Maybe even during this time when I was in my dark days, I knew deep down that I didn’t want to die, I was worth fighting for, and I deserve to protect myself. I’m still not completely sure about the whole thing, but I do know that I’m thankful for this life and all of the things I’ve experienced.
My advice is don’t play with fire, because you’ll end up with a weird scar, a weird story, and some weird questions you kind of have spiritual answers for. But seriously, be responsible around fire, and never do what we did. Your life might just get weirder after that.
Thank you for reading, and love yourself first.
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“On Fire” by Switchfoot from The Beautiful Letdown
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