Burning down the house

21 years ago, in January, our house caught fire in the early hours of the morning. We listened to the dream that woke us, and everyone in the house got out alive, and safe, including the cats. We had time to get downstairs, call 911 before the phone line burned through, and 10 minutes later, where we had been sleeping was ashes. Journals and keepsakes, clothing and possessions gone in an instant.

Sometimes it takes something as radical as this, what we like to call a clue-by-four, to waken us to gratitude for living. I remember my sister on the phone, concerned that everyone was okay. When she heard they were, she brightened and got excited for me. “Now you get to SHOP!” she said. And so I did. There was such an outpouring of support from friends who organized to sift through the rubble with archeological and forensic skills. Treasures were found to carry forward, some of which I keep today as tokens of hope.

My overall realization, thinking back on it is “Shit happens. It’s what you do afterwards that defines you.”