In the face of loss: When you’re barefoot on the lawn waiting for the fire department

Last Sunday evening, Pete and I were watching Netflix when we smelled smoke.  After figuring out the smell was coming from the hallway between the house and the garage and determining that it was a bigger blaze than we could handle, we called 911.

We grabbed the laptops and Pete’s class notes and headed outside without our shoes.

It’s a weird feeling to be standing in the dark, barefoot in your yard listening for approaching sirens.

As house fires goes, it was relatively small.  It was contained and extinguished in a few minutes after the professionals got set up.  But, it does make you think.

So many of life’s events are a mixed bag of emotions.  In this case, there was some apprehension about how bad the situation could be, some grief for the losses, some relief that it wasn’t that bad and some gratitude for what was preserved.

The challenge, after it was over, was to focus on gratitude. We weren’t hurt. We caught it early. No structural damage to the house. Loss of stuff was minimal.

All that was left was the mess and the smell.

But, that’s the challenge, isn’t it? To choose gratitude, to choose contentment when you’re still sitting in the middle of the mess.

Yes, it’s a choice, yes it’s unnatural. Actually, it’s supernatural.

Because it’s easier to focus on the negative. On what’s wrong instead of on what’s right.

And maybe that’s the lesson of the fire.

Grief and gratitude existing together.

What’s more, it’s the challenge of life. So many days are a mixed bag. You can consciously choose which emotion to indulge in, which one to express. You can choose gratitude without denying the grief.

I am grateful. I choose to be grateful.

P.S.  There’s some lessons you just have to keep re-learning.  Read   Why I Find it Hard to be Grateful

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