Playing with butane

We tend to believe we will see danger coming our way.

That is a lie.

We tell ourselves that to assure we feel safe.

We aren’t.

We all have fears.

Some are scared of heights and spiders. Others fear guns and tornados.

We can see those fears. But what about the dangers we can’t see?

The ones we invite into our lives and they end up robbing us in broad daylight.

Greed. Hatred. Pride. Complacency. Anger.

Many times, we don’t just invite them to the game. We put them on our team and let them play for us.

They convince us they are on our side. We believe they are our friends.

Greed tells us we deserve more. We are worth it.

It’s just one more late night at the office, right?

Hatred tells us we are right and that’s all that matters.

If there were just a little more like us, right?

Pride tells us we can do it on our own. We are independent and capable.

We got this, right?

Complacency tells us life is good right where we are. We don’t want to mess that up.

There’s always tomorrow, right?

Anger tells us someone wronged us. We have to strike back.

We just need the last word, right?

It’s a slow fade. We have to guard ourselves against the Enemy and the evils of this world.

Especially the ones we can’t see.

In college, I took an accelerated chemistry course in which we only had to do go to the lab twice, instead of every week, all semester long. The catch was that our labs were eight hours long instead of an hour and 50 minutes.

Everything was going well and I thought I had cornered the market on college credit shortcuts. Don’t judge me. You would have done it too had your college offered it (unless you love chemistry, then you’re just a diehard nerd).

Just an ordinary lighter.
Just an ordinary lighter.

About halfway through the day, we did a lab exercise involving butane. We were containing butane and then releasing it.

It was really fun.

Until it wasn’t.

I have a severe chronic dry eye condition called Keratitis. All sorts of things, like wind and heat, can cause my eyes to dry out in an instant.

Guess what?

So can butane.

On that day though, I didn’t know. I thought it was fun. I thought I was actually enjoying chemistry.

By 4 PM that day, both eyes were crimson, watering uncontrollably and in terrible pain. I was 100 miles away from my optometrist. He called a prescription in that got me through the night until I met him at his office at 7 AM the next morning.

Bunsen Burners are a common staple in any chemistry lab.
Bunsen Burners are a common staple in any chemistry lab.

When my doctor saw it the next morning, he said my cornea looked like I took it out of my eye, put it on the Bunsen Burner for a while and then put it back in my eye.

That chemistry lab episode ignited a series of events that eventually resulted in me not graduating college.

Was it worth it?

Definitely not.

The consequences of playing with the invisible evils of this world never are.

They seem so harmless. We can even justify and rationalize that they are good things. That’s the plan. The point is to blur the line between right and wrong, good and evil.

One of the biggest dangers that our unseen evils offer is that they distract us from what really matters. Greed gets in the way of spending time doing what really matters and pride keeps us from chasing our dreams because we might fail.

I have talked a lot in the last week about punching fear in the face so we can move forward with our hustle. We also have to knock these unseen dangers down and get them out of our way so we can hustle at whatever it is that we are being called to.


Stop for a moment today and reflect on what the butane in your life is. What is slowly destroying your world and you can’t even see it?

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