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.

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.


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...