Life has been a little overwhelming lately. Especially as Chris was out of the country (he’s back now), and everything around us began to bring terrifying news, I’ve somewhat retreated into myself. At the end of each day, I have felt largely overwhelmed, anxious, and utterly exhausted.
It started with Christopher leaving for Nepal. He had a great trip. In all honesty, I had a good stretch the first few days, and was really blessed by the ability to put some extra time in at my job and to spend time with the family I worked for this past spring.
Then I went to our beautiful friend, Helenka’s, wedding the first Saturday Chris was gone, and I came home to find the area to the west of us aflame. As I drove back toward Fort Collins, I thought, ‘Man, that smoke cloud was not there when I left this morning.’
And it wasn’t. After arriving home, I calculated what the fire would have to do to get to my home. The following Thursday, we could see it descend into Lory State Park, which is easily visible from town. Last Saturday, winds caused the fire to once more jump the highway and the river and head quickly north – where it burned even more homes than it already had.
To date, 257 homes have burned in the High Park Fire. One of them belonged to a couple from our church. All of them have families and stories and meaningful items that can never be re-gained.
Today, the crews reached 75 percent containment, with full containment expected July 15 – an entire two weeks earlier than they expected two days ago. In that, and in the rain that fell hurriedly to the ground tonight, I praise God.
In the meantime, though, I worked. I went to my parents’ house, celebrated our nephew’s third birthday in Colorado Springs with Christopher’s family and waited eagerly for his return, and I wept over my barrenness as I held our littlest nephew in my arms and sang him to sleep.
And, as Christopher came home, news started trickling in about a little girl who is the daughter of our friends and neighbors, Anthony and Sam. The reality of a three-year-old having cancer is surreal, as everything seems to be these days. The family is still finding out more specifically what type of cancer, how advanced, and what types of treatment will follow. They covet your prayers. Please keep Esther, her parents, and their other four kiddos in your prayers. Anthony and Sam are both trying to keep updates posted on Sam’s blog, “I will most gladly.” I woke up last Saturday and just wept, and I continue to weep whenever I read more about what’s happening and the faith in which Anthony and Sam are walking.
Last weekend, we celebrated five years of marriage (yay!), bought a car, and went to another wedding to celebrate the long-awaited union of Jimmy’s owner and her (now) husband. We came home to news of more wildfires.
I don’t think I ever really understood what it means that the earth groans under the chains of the curse until these last few weeks. Seeing images of flame engulfing people’s homes on the news last night in Colorado Springs might be one of the most deeply impressing images I have ever encountered. If this is a foretaste of how God plans to destroy the earth so it can be made new again at the end of everything, I am beginning to get a visual for what that may look like. There are so many people we know who are in that area, because it is where Chris grew up. Our family cabin is just north of Rampart Reservoir. Eagle Lake, where I went to summer camp growing up, should be gone for all intents and purposes, but the fire passed around.
And I’m speechless when I see these things.
It’s not that I don’t trust God to be who He is. Chris made a comment last night that people are quick to ask where God is when the house is gone, but they never asked where He was in its acquiring. It is sad to see homes and landmarks lost – places where kids grew up, where people were married, where we used to hike and enjoy the creation that God has so graciously given us – but I am so grateful that, at least with the Waldo Canyon Fire, no fatalities have been reported thus far.
Life continues on. It doesn’t seem like it will when we see the charred remains and ash is still resting on your car in the morning. But, one day, you drive home and realize the smoke isn’t pluming into the sky any longer. One day, it does begin to rain. You celebrate another birthday, another homecoming.
But today, I’m still a little overwhelmed. I am, however, praising God for the rain, for the fact that He protects, and for the blessed assurance that He both sees and knows each and every one of us.