“Fire comes. It doesn’t enter like a gentleman asking for permission to irrevocably alter your life, it kicks down the door with a list of demands clenched in its fist, and forces change. Whether the damage is emotional, physical or spiritual, it will come. Taking with it hopes, dreams, plans, belongings or beliefs, purifying and refining all that previously sat contentedly unchanged. It will not lounge around idly waiting for someone to be ready, it does not need a reason to become what it is. Conceived through source, heat and oxygen, it is birthed and instantaneously alive and hungry, snatching anything or anyone in its path. Anyone who has stood by, helplessly watching every shred of what they once thought was theirs devoured by this indiscriminate threat will tell you that fire is no respecter of wealth, position, gender or religious affiliation.
Fire can engulf a dry Christmas tree and rip through the contents of a home faster than you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks, taking with it precious articles, heirlooms and a lifetime of memories.
Flame alone is not the only thief. Its companions of heat and smoke are just as destructive as the fire itself, leaving the few items unscathed by fire thoroughly destroyed. Water, the very thing we pray for in the midst of the crisis, does its own undeniable damage as it saturates everything in and around its path, leaving some to wonder if the cure was worth the cost. Destruction, devastation and desolation enter hand in hand with the cold promise of new beginnings.
Thoughts of restoration and regeneration seem like nothing more than a sharp slap in the face as one sits blinded by tears sifting through charred bits of rubble, in search of some smoke-scarred article to connect an imperfect past with an unpredictable future.
There are no words to help in these first shattering moments. Platitudes of comfort from well-intentioned friends can feel more like an attempt to ease their own discomfort, grateful they are not the victims in this situation.
It is nearly impossible to remember that time will be the only healer in these moments. There are no escape routes or shortcuts through this trial. Shuffling numbly through the uncertain steps of grief is the only way out of the mess. Efforts to circumvent or numb the pain will merely result in delaying the journey, and seems to come with its own form of penalties and interest for putting off the inevitable.
A fire in your life can be as literal as losing your home, or as symbolic as losing your marriage, a child, your career, or your health, each one representing a major loss, which can feel as if everything you once held dear has been ripped away from you.
But no matter how searing the event, how destructive its companions, how impossible the future seems at the moment of loss, healing is there. She is waiting silently in the wings, biding her time until the chance comes for her to brush away the remnants of destruction and plant the seeds of hope, which are, guaranteed, to bring new life once again.”