Thursday, July 5, 2007

Humbled

This morning I am humbled.

Yesterday I could do nothing except complain about things that today, seem trivial.
Last night, at 1:52 a.m. I awoke to someone outside my apartment building yelling "Fire!" "Get out!". I could faintly hear the beep of a smoke alarm--somewhere.
I flew out of bed, and immediately looked out of my window.
The apartment building adjacent to ours was ablaze. People were shouting and trying to awaken the families inside, banging on windows. I ran down the stairs and out the door to help if I could, but found myself just standing there helpless. Finally, the people started to wake up and realize that there was an emergency, but it seemed like eternity before they came out. One family, the ones on the second story were forced, by that time, to come out of their window--kids and all.

It was harrowing to watch it all just go up in smoke and so surreal, knowing that this was unfolding in front of my eyes, and for some reason known only to the Universe, the building we live in was spared.
I spent a few hours watching and trying to help, talking with the family whose children my children play with everyday, hugging their children, and basically wandering around in a kind of stupor.
My children were safely inside with my mother, oblivious for the moment that their best friends were enduring such tragedy. It has permanently imprinted my memory the sight of this father gathering his wife and children as they cried, turn around shoulders slumped in defeat, and walk away without looking back.
Today, I am humble... and ashamed. Such worries I thought I had yesterday. So quickly can it all vanish. I never went back to bed last night. Simply sat there and expressed my eternal thanks that I was spared the tragedy of losing my home--even worse, my family.
Today I have no right to have any worries or complaints. All is well. Amazing how fast one's perspective can shift. We have a home to retire to when the day concludes, we have one another, we have...well, everything that matters.

6 comments:

niobe said...

How absolutely terrifying. I've never experienced anything remotely like that and I can only imagine how horrible and surreal it must have been even just to watch. I can't begin to picture what it would have been like to be someone in the building that was on fire. I so hope that everyone got out safely.

Joy, of course said...

That is really awful. I am stopping now to pray for those displaced families. It does put things in perspective, but it's okay to be down about your situation from time to time as well. I was thinking of you tonight as I struggled with my own 4 children, counting the hours until bedtime. This weekend though, The Man will be off work and I will have help. To me, you put things in perspective, trying to do it all alone. And for that, I will say a prayer for you as well.

painted maypole said...

My husband's house completely burned when we were dating. He managed to get himself and his 5 kitties out. Everything else burned. We salvaged about 1 box worth of smoke and water damaged memories. As a friend said "It's a unique opportunity to begin again." It really does put it all in perspective. Be safe.

slouching mom said...

Wow.

That's just so right, that moments like those really bring home what matters and what doesn't.

Unfortunately, it's not long before we swing back to the dailiness of our lives.

blooming desertpea said...

I guess we do need things like that to happen arounds us to make us realise of how lucky we really are ... and if you think about it, bad things could happen to us any time - that keeps me from ranting about little things most of the time, but hey, like everyone else, I'm just human, too ...

bubandpie said...

It is so sudden, that shift in perspective. I felt it when Bub injured his foot and couldn't walk for a few days. I was suddenly amazed that I had ever been discontented when all along, my son could walk.