It’s summer, almost, but in Montana that’s about like Spring.
Standing underneath crabapple blooms in the snow, we spent the day watching our house burn.
A little smoke… not able to discover the source. To a lot of smoke, billowing, then a blazing porch.
The realization came by bits. Too much smoke to go back in. We would lose the porch. The kitchen was burning. Jonny’s room was ablaze- he would lose everything. The house will need gutted – but maybe we can remodel. Then realizing that the whole house and everything in it would burn. That it would burn to nothing but ashes, twisted metal and charred rubble.
That night the glow of the now flattened house, still burning, lit the night. The next morning, the smoking and burning rubble greeted us. Occasional small explosions continuing the next two days puzzled us near the source of where the fire began. It was hard to believe, then, that this actually happened. To our house. I still want to shake my head as I look at the spot where I expect to see the big blue metal roof of our historic home. Gone forever, in just a few short, surprising moments.
But, I also want to shake my head with thankfulness and disbelief in the aftermath.
An elderly gentleman from our church showed up the next morning, bringing the boys clothes, chocolate and pocket knives. Watching my boys finger their pocket knives delightedly, touched my heart.
Our neighbor, who just underwent a heart transplant herself, less than 2 years ago, after her heart unexpectedly failed following the birth of her child, has repeatedly checked on me (us), finding out what we need, doing my laundry, thinking about us and suggesting ideas. I think it was she that expressed the thought, “Our world seems so bad sometimes, but it is times like these when it gives you hope, as you see so much good in people pulling together and caring for others.”
Yesterday, I went into the thrift store in Four Corners for some items I needed. This thrift store has already donated items we needed, but when I got to the counter, the cashier let me know I wouldn’t be paying for anything that day. As I drove away, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude.
It’s not just the financial aid. But, the compassion of people that is overwhelming. Sometimes, that is a bit hard for me, though. Sometimes it’s hard to accept. Sometimes I feel we don’t deserve it. Sometimes I am a bit proud… and I want to be able to do and care for all my needs and my family’s needs, myself. I feel people have helped out so many times, and we are forever beholden. Three years ago, my husband was nearly killed in a vehicle accident, 2 years ago, we had a premie baby boy. 1 year ago my husband ran for office (he didn’t win. ☺️). And now this.
People have set up go fund me accounts, met me in town, and donated in other ways – both to help us get our septic in and to start the rebuilding of our house.
The principal of our local public school (my kids are homeschooled), gave us many items as he was moving, payed my kids for loading his U-Haul, and fed them lunch as well.
We returned the house we have rented for 8 1/2 years to our landlord, barely a week after the fire. We spent weeks before the fire and a week after, stressing, cleaning, painting. He offered to rent to us longer, and said we had been good tenants. We decided to let it go, though, and put our money into the property we own, into hopefully rebuilding. We were pleased to receive our deposit back.
A couple of the kids’ friends showed up, helped pick items from the fire… including a gun that somehow survived!
So, as summer comes, (but I’m considering it Spring in Montana), I see hope as little bits of green Spring sprouting: a dream of a new house, a gun that survived the fire. A girl in a pink dress, barefoot, in the rubble.