My brother in -law and his wife have likely lost their home in today’s northern California fire. They were evacuated with fifteen minutes to spare, and drove in nightmare conditions in the middle of the night, to get out of their Santa Rosa subdivision. Burning embers on the street, flames skipping across lawns, and remains of other people’s homes in the 110, 000 + acres explode into the night sky like a nuclear bomb.
Two years ago, the Butte fire destroyed thousands of acres and hundreds of homes in our Central Sierras mountain community. My husband and I were evacuated for over a week. So many decisions. If the wind hadn’t changed direction, we would have lost our ranch, and all of our possessions that day. We were so lucky, but hundreds of other people lost everything in the Butte fire.
My brother in-law called us from a friend’s house, thirty miles away from the Coffey Park fire. He reflected upon his situation since he’s certainly in shock. He said this fire is like experiencing a death. The difference is when someone dies, they leave their stuff and their bodies go. In his case, stuff is gone and he keeps his body.
Loving prayers to tragedies in the world. I realize it is impossible to stop most catastrophes, fires, hurricanes and flooding, but if I pray before, during and after, I get through fear with minimal pain and horror. I believe that prayer works for me. Facing pain begins with praying to cultivate a compassion heart. Energy from my prayers helps in the worst circumstances, and I find it empowering to share that type of energy with others.
I am grateful our brother and sister are still alive, and they didn’t die in the fire as others have. We are grateful we have our home to offer them so they have somewhere to go, since it’s all gone. Nobody wants tragedy, but compassion can help.
I’ve heard it said pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. If that’s true, reaching out for help begins healing, and receiving help can ease complete devastation.