This familiar phrase, shared with many of our guests when they inquire about our practice of having a small oil lamp burning on the back of our stovetop, isn't always true. Many times, absolutes like 'always' and 'never' aren't accurate. Sometimes being human means forgetting things, and tonight was one of those times.
Gods be praised.
Living with three children, all having various degrees of self-imposed (or medically necessary) dietary limitation, and a gluten-free partner, one treat we can agree on is French fries... and tonight we'd test out our sweet new deep-fryer.
Rev. Missy, the self-proclaimed expert on all things fried (she says it's because she's from Ohio), filled the frier with the necessary fats, while I prepped the potatoes, perfectly uniform batons ready to be transformed into golden brown frites after a quick bath in 375 degree oil.
However, these dreams of potato bliss were cut short, for while we were getting the oil ready deep-frying a few pieces of bacon for the eldest, the whole contraption boiled over, pouring forth excruciatingly hot oil like some sort of stainless steel Vesuvius hell-bent on our ruin.
In shock, Rev. Missy ran for the pile of old towels to soak up the viscous fury, while I dove in, grabbing the handles of the deep fryer, and moved it to the glass stovetop, unplugging the damnable thing to hopefully stop the heating process.
Looking at one another and laughing like a couple of teenagers on an awkward first date, we both gave a nod to HearthMother for keeping us safe and sound, and then we were overwhelmed with emotion... my Lady brought to tears...
Grateful for not being scalded by boiling oil, it instantly became clear that if we'd have been mindful and lit the HearthMother oil lamp, the bubbling and splattering fryer would certainly have had the opportunity to splash around the open flame, thus starting a huge grease fire atop our stove, beneath wood cabinets... this could have gone very bad.
But we forgot to light the lamp.
I know I've been guilty of beating myself up, and heavy-handed in judging my practice, coming down hard when I am too busy and run out the house without making an offering, or, because of other things on my mind, forget altogether.
Sometimes forgetting can create opportunities to practice Piety.
Sometimes forgetting is a gift from your Kindreds of hearth and home.