Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Through the Ashes

Once a pond a time, (that’s how my little Azure begins all of her writings) I was a blogger. I wrote to feel useful. I blogged to hopefully inspire someone, anyone. I tapped out words on my keyboard to share some of the little things I’ve learned in this life that maybe, just maybe, you would like to learn too.
And then, I went through a period of time when I felt a little less than inspiring. A little less than useful. A little less than wise. Nothing big happened to change anything. I just let myself get busy with this thing called life, and failed to take the time to internalize the daily lessons, light, and knowledge that we’re all given if we look hard enough.
My tender-hearted Dad is someone who always looks hard enough. I remember sitting at a volleyball game with him once, and after seeing his eyes get misty, asked “Dad, are you ok?” I have never forgotten his response, though I think I was merely 11 years old at the time: “Oh yes. I was just thinking, isn’t it amazing? Isn’t it amazing that we are blessed with these amazing bodies that can run, jump, leap, dive? We have so much to be thankful for! Life is amazing!”
Life is amazing. Even with its twists and turns, its disappointments and trials, it is amazing. 14 days ago today, my husband’s parents’ home burned to the ground in the blaze of the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs.
It has been beyond devastating. When they rushed out to beat the flames that were racing their way, Grammy and Grandpa were able to grab a couple outfits each, a few photo albums, the small safe with important documents (but not the keys to said safe), and their vehicles. They suffered no physical injury (thank the heavens!) but the emotional pain has been heart wrenching. Their home of 24 years, where they raised their 6 children, where they housed their parents’ heirlooms, their memories, and their hopes, is now a pile of twisted metal and ash.

I have had the great pleasure to house, hug, and feed them. I have had the great honor to see the goodness of our community as they have reached out in thoughtfulness, blessed kindness, and beautiful generosity to them.
 I have had the opportunity to return to the burn site along with Grammy, Grandpa, my husband, my brother-in-law, and three sister-in-laws to help remove rubble and sift through ash. We worked harder together than we’ve ever had to before.

We cleared the space of huge pieces of corrugated metal roof. We hefted the metal innards of recliners, sofas, refrigerators and appliances into a towering scrap pile. And then we searched, through square foot by square foot of ash, for anything worth saving.

We found broken china, charred silverware, Christmas mugs with melted glass caked to the sides, and the remains of Grammy’s jewelry rack.

But we also, bless the good Lord above, found two treasures that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Sweet Grammy was heartbroken that she didn’t snatch up anything of her mother’s on her way out the door; but through the Lord’s tender mercy, these two heirlooms, one a small statue, and the other, a ceramic pitcher, were saved from the fire and the falling debris. The small statue has some damage and melted glass affixed to it, but it’s in one piece, and it has retained some of its color.
With a good cleaning, the pitcher will be pristine.  
This is truly incredible in comparison to the condition of nearly everything else that once filled their home. It feels nearly miraculous.We unearthed a few other treasuers as well, including the remains of Grandpa's military medals, a salt and pepper shaker set, some handmade kid pottery, and several charred, yet intact pieces from a seventies dish set, that by today’s standards is slightly unsightly…oh but heaven help me if those dishes weren’t the most beautiful site to behold amidst the filthy, grey ash.
Life is Amazing. Devastating. Trying. Frustrating. Intriguing. Enlightening. Humbling.  Exciting. Life is amazing, and I am immensely grateful that I have so many amazing people to share it with, even if some happen to be (temprorarily) homeless. J


runningfan said...

Oh my goodness. How heart-wrenching. Those pictures! I'm so glad you found some treasures. My dad's house burned to the ground when he was 12, and I know how much he loves the handful of melted marbles that survived the fire.

Navylangs said...

Life is amazing. And so are the tender mercies that help us muddle through the not so amazing parts. I love reading your stories!

Tricia Lauritzen said...

Cumorah, So Glad you did this post. Never underestimate just how much of an influence you have on so many people. I'm thankful you share so much of yourself. This was amazing!

Kim said...

You better keep on writing so I can keep on keeping so busy that I don't have a second to think until I sit down and read your blog and smile, cry, laugh, be grateful and spend a little time thinking myself. I love your posts every time! The only thing I love more is hearing the stories and thoughts in person.

Cumorah said...

Oh heavens, you ladies are so kind to me! Maybe this is why I really blog...to feel a connection. Love you all! ~Cumorah

Tyler Gearhart said...

Wish we could have been there to help, thanks for helping us see. The beginnings of a great recovery.

Shauna_Rae said...

This post makes me so sad seeing the pictures and the few treasures from the ashes. I'm glad they have you and all of their other family and friends to help them through this.

Valeri said...

You are such a beautiful writer, Cumorah. Truly, you have a gift. I always enjoy reading what you have to say, so please don't stop.

I have thought about you and about Dan's parents so often these past few weeks. My heart aches for this excrutiating loss. I cannot imagine the heartache you all have endured, but how wonderful you are to see the rainbows amidst the dark clouds. No doubt your perspective has offered great comfort to them. I will continue to pray for everyone as they (and you) continue to sift through this incredible time. XO.

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