I have found that life changes in an instant, and then it is never the same again. And afterwards, life is measured by that event. For instance, when I try to recollect a date, I often hold it up against a memory of whether my dad was still living. We all measure our lives that way.
My house is situated on a lot that is slightly more than an acre, on part of a road that has yet to be paved. Before the leaves get too full, I have a view of Red Sand Lake across the street, and if this brutal winter ever ends, the loons will be heard communicating with their soulful calls, both from Red Sand on one side, and Whipple Lake on the other. It is a very peaceful abode that offers much refuge from the pace of this life.
Last night, just as I was about to surrender to sleep, I heard a strange noise. In my sleepiness, I thought Atticus was scratching something. When I sat up to examine the source of the noise, my attention was directed to the window, where I could see a horrific fire taking place in my back yard. I flew out of bed to look out the patio doors in my family room.
Yes. It was true. Flames higher than I could see. Remembering consciously the challenges I had last June when calling 911 from my cell phone , I grabbed the land line and dialed. I told the Dispatcher that my neighbors house was on fire.
The first time in this particular experience that I got called up short was when she said, "What is the address?" I had no clue.
But here's mine, and our woods abut each other. Just come please.
"We'll send somebody" she said. And they did, but it took at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile all I could do was stand at that patio door, crying and praying. Thanks to Jim and Sally Boos for phone therapy.
And while I was watching,after being advised to " be aware" because of the possibility that the wind could spread the fire; it hit me, I didn't even know their names.
I flipping didn't even know their names
I'm ashamed of that.
I know these things about them- I remembered that the husband's name is Ron, and that he worked for Lindy (a pro fishing business) for awhile. And that his wife did something with a retirement organization.
And I only knew this because Glenn Derby usually took a lifetime to arrive home , as he needed to pull over and chat with everybody who was getting their mail, working in their yard or walking the dog. I took the info second hand; I didn't need to know; give me the Cliff Notes version.
From watching them, I know that he has a cool boat, and that his wife must not let him smoke in the house,and that he puts up elaborate Christmas decorations for his children and grandchildren. And sorry Dude, but you have a really LOUD voice when I'm trying to read on my patio. But if I knew you, it would probably be okay.
I know they have grown kids and grandchildren that play in their circular drive, and that last summer I was jealous of that..I wanted the sounds of life around me too. I've watched them and heard them while in my own yard. In fact I've heard whole conversations.
But I didn't even know their names to pray for them, while their lives were being totally ripped apart.
I've lived here almost five years. I saw them, usually daily in my comings and goings.
But I didn't see them. For whatever reason, I didn't need to SEE them enough to know their names.
I know their names now. And I will reach out to them in their loss. Such a loss.
A humbling lesson in the difference between seeing and being seen, on the journey.