Many of us have a defining moment in our lives. Mine is the fire that roared through my neighborhood and destroyed my home on June 27, 1990, at 6:35 p.m. I think I will forever mark time as BF and AF—before the fire and after the fire.
It happened during a perfect storm of events. My husband was ill, and the fire seemed to be the tipping point. He went steadily downhill until his death seven years later. My children, such an important part of my life, went away to school that fall. My income as a writer had been an important part of our family finances, but I lost three books in progress and another just completed but not yet submitted, as well as a screenplay a movie producer had asked to see. It took two full years to redo what I had already been paid for. And because of my husband’s condition, I had the daunting task of replacing a house and everything in it by myself.
That’s the downside. But defining moments also have an upside. BF, I had no idea of my own strength. How could I? It had never been testing. Idiscovered that I could handle the finances and rewrite a book in less than a month and hire an architect and builder. I could care for my husband and be his advocate. BF, I had no idea of my children’s strength, either. I watch them today and wonder how much of who they are was seared into them by that fire. I learned the importance of perspective. It was, after all, just a house. I learned the difference between people you know and real friends. And I learned the truth behind the words from the Apostle Paul:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Yet every year as I turn the calendar page to June, I remember.
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”