Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Burning Down the House

Last night I met a lady who is in the middle of some trauma. Her adult son's home burnt down a couple of weeks ago. They are all devastated, and rightly so.

I pictured the harrowing scene of her son, lifting his three-year-old daughter out of bed and running for the door. A bathrobe hastily thrown on, bare feet, a blanket wrapped around the baby, and eyes watching from a safe distance as their lives went up in smoke and flame. It makes me shiver.

I remember the scene of another house fire from years ago. I recall seeing fire trucks and police cars lining the road, the nosy neighbors, blackened siding, shattered glass, and the realization that nothing would ever be the same again. I found my mother, always a rock during any emergency, sitting in her Firebird which was parked away from the crowd. I burst into tears as I climbed into the passenger seat and asked aloud where my brothers were.

Fire is a destroyer and its cousins, smoke and water; ravage anything that the flames leave undigested.

I’ve been a bit odd about “stuff” ever since.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my material possessions, but it’s just stuff. This is why I use my good china every time I can, why I don’t truly own anything of real value, and why I am baffled at other peoples obsession with bits and pieces.

Yet I look around this house and see SO MUCH STUFF! Why do we have so much stuff! It boggles the mind. It truly does.

A house fire is a terrible, devastating thing. It changes you. I am more afraid of fire than perhaps anything else. The smell of burnt, wet, timber dredges up old fears and memories I’d rather forget. Yet, having lost so much I have come to value the things that truly matter more.

Relationships
Laughter
Friendships
Time well spent

Everyone gets caught up in materialism. It’s simply a part of the American dream, but you can’t take it with you.

And really, in the end, it’s all just gonna burn anyway.

2 comments:

Patti said...

you are right about it all burning anyway...

Pennie Bixler said...

How true - it's a good daily reminder. It's odd how something so tragic can be a blessing of sorts...