Monday, June 28, 2010

Thoughts after the fire...

I am a very lucky man. I have no cause to complain. While losing my home is certainly traumatic, I’ve been fortunate enough to see love in action from all of my friends and family. Even strangers have gotten in on the act. Truly, I have been so blessed by the outpouring of love and support that it's almost an after thought. ...Oh yeah, my house burned down.

I think this has been miraculous. My dog got out and he’s healthy; the painting I love is safe. Both the knife and two special books with inscriptions from my father are a bit water damaged, but I have them. The pictures of family, running medals, icons, a rosary, and there was even some Powers Irish whiskey in an undamaged pantry – well all of these things are safe.

Now on top of the stuff and the gift of life, I have been afforded another great blessing (a’ la Frank Capra). I've seen first hand what most of us will only see at our own funeral -a profound, loud declaration of love. I guarantee you, It's a Wonderful Life!

But honestly, it is almost scarily beautiful. I am reminded of the centurion who tells our Lord, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed." ...In a very similar fashion, I have to ask / state, "Who am I to merit such support, friendship, and love? I'm not worthy."

But whether the centurion is worthy or not is not his call to make. That is God's call. And whether I’m worthy or not to receive such help is not for me to decide. That’s the decision of my friends, family, and greater community. And thus far, they have showered me with love and support. It has been mind blowing. It has been humbling. It has been awe-inducing. It’s so much to take in, that I don’t think anyone can do it easily.

The unworthiness I feel is connected to my broken condition I guess. If I ever am lucky enough to attain a less imperfect state, maybe I’ll be able to grasp such love with less trepidation. As it is, I am human with limited wisdom and sense …as evidenced by the insurance debacle.

I was talking with my sister about this and we agree that the truth of love is somehow rooted in its capacity to surprise someone with joy. If you ask anyone who has talked to me in the last week, they will tell you outright that I am laughing so much more freely right now. I just am. I keep thinking this must be shock, but it doesn’t feel like shock I’ve experienced before. …It feels like Christmas morning when I was a kid. Love is alive, love is overflowing, love is real.

What I do know now is just so real to me.

…God is good.

Family is good.

Friends are good.

Catholics are good.

Presbyterians are good.

Muslims are good.

Jews are good.

Agnostics are good.

…I could go on, but you get the idea.

I am a heterosexual Roman Catholic man who votes Republican on some issues and Democrat on others and I’ve even voted Green once before (probably in a moment of silliness connected with my last name). I am not married, and I’m as foolish as the next person about certain things –the insurance debacle being proof that I am more foolish than most.

But God so loved me that he allowed me a momentary glimpse of how things work. And what did I see?

I saw people of every creed, nationality, background, and age united in helping me. They might not have done so willingly had they been forced to work alongside each other in a trench, but they probably would have done that too. All have been so gracious with their time, talent, and treasure.

This all builds up to an overpowering feeling. For me, in the fire and the reaction after it, God said, “Hey Dan, Love is everywhere. It is. The people are loving without thinking twice. Do you see the beauty that is the world I created? Do you see the beauty of every person regardless of what ideologies they profess? They all have the capacity to love. They all come from me and I don’t make trash.”

I can’t think of anything that needs to be said besides that. …except that I hope I can pay it all forward with the rest of my life.

The party is coming folks. Chess wants to say thanks!