It is now almost one week since my life went up in flames (literally) and I’ve noticed that my accepted point of view has shifted quite a bit. Things that would have driven me up a tree two weeks ago, simply don’t even deserve the spotlight of my attention now. I don’t know, something about losing everything places a different spin on life and the importance of your time; it most definitely rearranges one’s priorities a bit.
Again, I really don’t know how to explain it; it’s not the same as mourning the loss of a life or getting a diagnosis of a life altering disease or even being victimized in a crime. It’s much more stark. One can say I’ve been given the gift of truly starting over. But, this is so much more than the mere material things needed to live (a bed to sleep, a sofa to sit upon, a lamp to read by) this is the loss of all that I truly held dear and all those things that were handed down for generations.
There is a feeling of guilt, though I know I didn’t start the fire, associated with telling my sister about the loss of some of the items that was so horrible (I felt like telling her about our sister dying all over again). That feeling of ‘if only’ came up. Like, “if only I hadn’t insisted on bringing Kimball’s silver right away.” Or, “if only I had waited on bringing over the rocking chair our Grandfather made our mother when she was a little girl.” Or, “why did I have to insist on bringing the mahogany Low-boy; I should have insisted Elizabeth take it.” All of those items are gone and I could hear the heart-break in my sister’s voice, though she would deny it (it would kill her, rather than to ever make me feel an ounce of guilt). And I know that, like me, she is saddened by the loss too; but, she is relieved I made it out (bird in hand).
I must sound silly as I go on about how I feel of the loss of these ‘things’; especially after what I just wrote. However, I do still believe that we place too much emphasis in our ‘stuff’, I do think the loss is finally settling in; hence, my grief. You know? I’m not even sure this is grief. I feel fine, for the most part. I read a post on FB by a friend of mine who wrote: “As I look at life day-to-day, I can’t find a single thing to complain about. Why? Because my walk with God is so strong that regardless of what you have done, will do, or ever try to do or say, you will be taken care of by God. A big eye opener was hearing of when my friend Ann MacGregor’s house caught a fire, leaving her with nothing; but God didn’t. He has and will continue to give her exactly what she needs. Many things have happened to us all but it’s how we handle them. I thank You Lord , for allowing me to see that no one person can steal my joy , nor is responsible for what I do or don’t have. You are in control because I have definitely learned to LET GO AND LET GOD!!! Thank U Lord.”
For this past week, I couldn’t quite place my finger on the reason for the ‘calmness’ and this ‘quiet’ I felt; but my friend said it so well, “Let GO and let GOD.” I’ve heard that phrase before and always thought I understood its meaning, but truly don’t think I got it; not until recently. Let go and let God means that we have no control over this River of Life. We like to think we do, and there are some things we can control. What milk to buy and how much of it we buy or drink. But I no more can control what will happen to me today, tonight or tomorrow morning, than I can control the weather or the time of day. Logically, we know this; but for the first time in my life, I’m surrendered to it. And it feels wonderful.
I, like many of us, have always wanted to know what was ’round the bend in the road ahead. I always felt that I needed to be prepared for what was coming. But to truly enjoy the ride that we have been placed on this earth to enjoy, to be “in the moment” means enjoying every inch of that road/river(whatever you call it). Enjoying the scenery as it comes and enjoying the currents or the rapids as they flow. When you see a ‘bend’ in the river coming up; notice it, notice the view; but do not to allow yourself to waste the time thinking or worrying about what is around it. You will get to it quick enough.
Both the Fire Chief and the Firefighter that helped me said that had I stayed just a couple of minutes longer I would have perished; when I think of that, I truly do count my blessings. Again, that isn’t what has altered my thinking, it is the fact that in no more than thirty minutes, everything I owned, everything that described me and my life (my childhood, my wedding pictures, my theatre write-ups, my high school yearbooks) is all ashes. In a matter of minutes, my past erupted into flames and is no more.
Let go and let God is my new motto. There is truly a solace in those words for me, forcing me to stay in the moment. I don’t know how long this new awareness will last; I hope for a lifetime, I could live with that. That way of thinking is something we all could use more of. However, I could do with a little less of the shock and some more sleep… all in due time. In the meantime? I write.
- Consider a 3-Pronged Approach to Fire Safety (allstate.com)
- Firefighters rescue Lawrence Twp. man from burning home (cantonrep.com)