Sunday, October 28, 2007

promise and hope

Whew...what a week it has been. Watching from the sidelines as fires ravage your region is not something I'd wish on anyone. Such frustration--to see powerful destruction, and now that there is very little to be done to lessen its horror.

I kept experiencing the same frustration in others: a desire to do something to help, and an inability to find something that would feel sufficient. I went to the evacuation center at Qualcomm stadium--they were inundated with people wanting to help. And I marvel at how half a million people evacuated their homes, and found places to be. If Qualcomm held 10,000 of them, and felt like a massive operation, my mind reels at what 500,000 people seeking shelter there would look like. It seems incredible that so many people could find places to be--at evacuation centers, in their rv's in parking lots around the county, in hotels, and staying with friends and family. I like to imagine that the biggest number of people were imply absorbed (given shelter?) by extended family and friends. A vast informal network of people willing to provide hospitality and care to one another. A grassroots relief project that provided shelter on a massive scale, relying on people's basic decency toward one another...

In between my feelings of amazement and gratitude for how good people can be, though, I found myself braced for the possibility of loss. Our friend Mark lost his house--everything he owns, except for a duffel bag of clothes, his car, and the laptop he forgot at a friends' house. My thoughts are with him and so many others who've lost so much. Life, even.

We continue to spend much of our outside-of-work time up in Julian, building Matt's family's house that burned four years ago in the Cedar Fire. All that effort--the thought of losing it to fire again was, well, pretty crappy.

Thankfully, it did not burn again. And we got up there yesterday to do some more work--the power's back on, the water works, and the sky was blue. The autumn leaves are gorgeous. The neighbors even came by to say congratulations for making it through this one.

And, best of all, on the way home, we saw a rainbow. A big one, all across the sky to the east, over the desert. A double rainbow. And, it came with a gently sprinkling of rain. Promise and hope for my eyes and my tired, dry skin--how good it felt and looked! As if God was saying, "I know it's been hard. Just remember that you can never lose it all. And I will not destroy you completely. My promise is still here. You'll make it to a beautiful new possibilities, just ahead."


Deb said...

Molly, thank you for all the marvelous work you have doing and continue to do for those in need, and thank you for this post, and for the rainbows--the reminder of the promise, it did my heart good!

karen said...

The end of this post could be the end of a post I'm preparing about my past year -- always leading to the promise of beautiful new possiblities.

And the rainbow was an excellent bonus!

Actually, the rainbow was the message. A message of hope for a new day.