12 Years ago today I had a son that was 10 months old, only been married a couple of years and I get a phone call from my dad, who is in New York with my mom that the house was on fire. He tells me that the phone line was burnt so he didn't have a lot of information. Basically, things he told me was that I was guardian, he didn't know if everyone made it out and he had no idea the extent of the damage in the home. We raced over there to find tons of fire trucks trying to put the fire out and chaos. The house was a total loss and all of the belongings from all of the years growing up there were mostly gone. My siblings that lived there had lost almost everything they cherished.
At that very moment you realize what things you might take for granted. My family ran out of the house very fast. They didn't think to grab shoes, blanket, pillow, clothes, toothbrush, etc. All of a sudden you don't have any of these things. They had what was right on their backs and that is all.
There was sadness, but my dad is the eternal optimist. When they arrived home the next day and he assessed the situation and met with the insurance company. The insurance company told him that it could easily take at least six months to rebuild. He told them that he would rebuild in six weeks and his family would be back in by Labor Day. It wasn't even a question. Guess who was right!
Within hours it felt like hundreds of people showed up to help. The volunteer hours far exceeded any hours that were paid. Even subcontractors altered their schedules to be there and get in and get things done quickly. The meals poured in, love, support, hard working volunteers, people to inventory the losses, friends to listen and support and family that grew much closer. Not only that, but small miracles were found along the way. Temple books that my family had assembled that were right in the middle of the hottest part of the house were untouched. Pictures of Christ hung on a 2 x 4 with a small amount of smoke damage. Everything around them was a total loss. We were always grateful for those small miracles along the way.
Our regular lives came to a halt and long 12-15 hour days are what came about. I wouldn't trade any of those hours. The laughter, friendships, memories made will never be replaced. My parent's were amazing and made this such a positive experience. We actually looked forward to all arriving early in the mornings and staying late because of the time we had together and the miracles that happened each day.
As a family, for 12 years we have gotten together on July 8th to "Celebrate and Remember" that time in our lives. We don't talk about the "things" that were lost, but the memories that have been made. We have learned that family and friends are what really matter. We also have learned that turning potentially bad memories into long lasting lessons and positive memories are really what matter and that "things" will come and go.
Remember to claim today and make it a positive memory. Learn something from the tough times. Remember to laugh. No matter the situation or the loss amazing things can come about. Look There are miracles in all things, good or bad. It's all in the attitude :).
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