I’ll bet we all woke up with a heavy heart today. As I drove down Main Street, the predawn hour was eerily quiet until that stillness was broken by the rumble of fire truck after fire truck. With the blaze rapidly expanding, with family and friends either on high alert or evacuated, with the large base camp established at the Fairgrounds, the gravity of the situation in our County is overwhelming.
As dawn broke, I was amazed at the beauty in the sky. Layers of lavender and coral were broken by shards of intense light. It was quite breathtaking until you looked closer and realized that at the base of that beauty was unmasked fury.
Where do we go with that? How do we think about the wild, uncontained rage that is consuming our land? Wrestling with this question, there’s only two options at our disposal…allow the enormity of the situation to devour and invade us or to work to find peace in the middle of the madness.
The natural course would be to give into a sense of hopelessness…to accept that the fire has a life of its own and is dictating and controlling our very lives. And for those whose homes are threatened, well, I cannot even begin to imagine the sense of despair. And yet, to stay in a place of hopelessness threatens our mental state while the fire ravages the physical one, and we can’t afford to turn both over to the blaze.
“Peace in the middle of madness”…how do we do that? When I’m confronted with an intense circumstance beyond my control, I look for inspiration to lift my thought to a new perspective which allows me to see beyond the looming situation before me. It’s like being in an airplane on a foggy morning. As long as you’re rumbling through the fog, your sight is blurred, you can’t see your way forward, and it’s easy to assume that the fog that is consuming your experience is all there is. But as soon as you begin an elevated perspective, clarity returns and you can see where you need to go.
As I looked to elevate my thought this morning, the story of Elijah came to me. Now whether you’re a person of faith or not, this example can serve as an inspired metaphor. So Elijah is looking for God and he is confronted with some devastating situations. First comes an intense wind, then an earthquake and then a consuming fire. After the fire, there is a still small voice. What’s important is that Elijah realizes that God, in all His power, is not in those intense furies…He is found is the gentle whisper of a still, small voice.
That still, small voice is at work in our community. As the fire rages, that voice is heard as the clear instinct of our firefighters. It’s seen in the intelligent planning and strategizing of Emergency Management personnel. It’s recognized in the strength of homeowners and property owners as they make decisions in response to what is wise. It’s seen in the compassion and grace of neighbors and community members who know what to say and how to meet unseen needs. It’s seen in our ability to allow gratitude for all those protecting our County to fill us and keep us in a state of hope. And this is where the power is.
With immense gratitude for everyone who is keeping us safe, and with much love to everyone who is directly impacted by this fire…