Lessons Learned By A Fire

House Fire-The Movie

House Fire-The Movie (Photo credit: dvs)

They say that with every forest fire, new growth begins.  The forest restores itself back to where it once was and is once again a new; refreshed (clean).  This last Tuesday I awoke to the obnoxious sound of the smoke detector.  Now, I ask you; how many times have the smoke detectors sounded in your home and NOT been broken, or overly sensitive?

I awoke, walked out to the living room and was stunned to find that I had a fire in my fireplace.  The only problem is that I hadn’t used my fire-place for at least a couple of days.  I was half a sleep, discombooberated; so, I did what anyone would do, I instinctively went to the switch to turn off the fireplace.  Only the switch was in the ‘off’ position.  Stunned, I couldn’t believe this.  I kept fiddling with it, “turn off!” I yelled.

The flames would go down, at which time I would try to fan the smoke away from the smoke detector.  Then the flames increased, then they decreased, then increased.  When they decreased again, I could see in the crack of the wall at the baseboard that this wasn’t just a fire in the fire-place; this was a ‘fire in the WALL!’

“Oh my God!”  I thought and proceeded to grab my phone and call 911.  Luckily they answered right away, I grabbed my bird and got out of there.  I got out with only my purse, my over-sized flannel pajama bottoms, my Giants Champion 2010 (over-sized) T-Shirt, my now dirty white robe and my fluffy blue socks.

I took my bird, Frank who was safe in his cage, and sat on the curb in shock.  At least I had the where with all to grab my purse.  As I sat on the curb, I waited and waited and waited and waited some more; the fire trucks started rolling in, fire men started piling out, pulling hoses.  I watched as they started coordinating who was going to do what.   A voice from behind asked, “would you like to come inside?”  I turned and it was this angel of mercy named Mary (one of my neighbors I had yet had the pleasure to meet).  To which I replied a very relieved “yes.”  Frank and I were extremely grateful to have a place away from the chaos and away from the cold.  I couldn’t stop from shaking, nor could I grapple my head around what had happened.  But of course, I hadn’t been told the worst of it yet, that would come later.

I just couldn’t concentrate when the Fire Captain came in to ask me some questions.  “Excuse me?”, I asked, “I’m not following; what was it you needed?”  “I just need to ask you a couple of questions for my report”, he replied.  So he continued to ask his questions and I continued to answer, as best I could recollect.  It was just so surreal.  After he told me the severity of the situation, I couldn’t get over the destruction and that I lost everything in a matter of thirty minutes.  The ornaments that my mother had  hand-made so many years ago.  A wooden lamp that was hand carved by my favorite uncle, he managed to take the one piece of wood and carve it into the top bar of the lamp and the links (it was a hanging lamp).  It was things like that that upset me most; the heirlooms.  You can’t put a price tag on those.

I’ve been staying with a dear friend these last couple of days and had a lot of time to think.  The worst of it was (and continues to be) the nightmares I seem to be having each night, which will lessen with time.  However, on the flip side I have been relishing in this feeling of walking lighter, literally, as if the fire made my choices for me.  I mean I had collected so much ‘STUFF’.  I truly did want to get rid of so much of that stuff; it was weighing me down, energy-wise.  So, maybe now I can truly start fresh; a new.

I am starting my new business, perhaps now I can start a new way of life.  A minimalist way of living.  Sticking with the philosophy of only having those things around me that ‘mean’ something to  me and my significant other.  Making a promise to myself to never, ever allow ‘stuff’ to weigh me down or pull back on my  energy; keeping me from my goals in life.

I do believe that we can collect rooms of stuff that, often times, we concentrate on the “keeping up with the Jones'” so much, we lose ourselves in the process.  We end up losing sight of what it was that we went out to achieve in the first place.  True, the items we value and keep are wonderful treasures that remind us of our loved ones of years gone by.  However much of the time that ‘stuff’ is simply collected because we are either too greedy, too afraid of letting go or just don’t have it in us to deal with the possible heart-break of throwing out our loved ones.  Because that is what we are thinking, isn’t it?  But these things are just objects; stuff.  Our loved ones will always have a place in our lives and our hearts.  We don’t need to keep their treasures in order to prove our allegiance.  But as we accumulate these items, they do weigh heavily on us, draining us of our enthusiasm.  Draining our energy.

There are a great many lessons to learn in this life.  I learned about immortality at an extremely early age with the death of my father.  I am now learning that the true important treasures aren’t what you accumulate monetarily; they are those wonderful loved ones you pick up along the way.  And it is at times like this that you most certainly know who your friends are.  All I can say is that I am truly blessed and have accumulated a great many human treasures along this journey called life.  As I’ve said in past posts, the journey of finding Ann MacGregor may never end, for there are continuing lessons this old gal must learn.  I just hope (with all hope) that I pass.  I’ve said this before too, my mother met her fate with grace just oozing out of her pores.  When I grow up, I want to be just like her.  Please dear Lord, let her be proud.


5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned By A Fire

  1. …and I cried last night because I don’t have a sweetheart to share Valentine’s with….alas…this certainly put a new spin on my life…and MY journey. You are a GIFT, Ann…a true gift of what strength looks like; what matters in life; that such an act of chemistry/physics (?? not sure which to “blame” ) would have such an impact first on you, of course, but those of us who are learning from you. You ARE amazing…You ARE an inspiration….You ARE a true friend and I hope I can live up to the lesson, myself. Love you love you…hugs and any support I can give is merely a phone call away….

    • Dear, dear Chis; it is friends like you that keep me in this momentum. It is your strength and wisdom that I draw from. We drink from each other’s wells, you see? I love you and thank you for you support and kindness especially these last days. And also these last months; you are one of my treasures.

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