There was once a young blacksmith who went into a village to set up his blacksmith shop. He put up the building; he had his forge, his tongs, and the bellows. He had everything in place, so he opened for business. The orders started coming in, but even though the young blacksmith had all the equipment to get the jobs done, he was unable to get anything to work.

Finally, he asked an old blacksmith in the village to come over and tell him what was wrong. The old blacksmith came to the new shop and complimented it, saying, “You have a fine shop here—an excellent forge with good bellows and tongs—but the thing you are missing is the spark. You don’t have the spark, and without the spark, without the fire, you really don’t have a blacksmith shop.”

I think the same thing is true of a human being. Human beings can have their arms, their legs, their minds, their tears and laughter…they can have all these things, but if they don’t have a spark inside—if they don’t have a fire inside—then they will not experience an exuberant, joyful kind of life.

When we find ourselves looking around, seeing everything in good working order, but unable to live out that joyful life, perhaps we should look to the spark and cultivate the fire within. Then we can get to the business of being human.