the list…

What is the shame for human beings to weep at the passage of time and to feel it in the disappearance of the objects of our past? These emotions give us all literature and music and art. They give us our humanity. ~ Bill Holm
The neighborhood, our neighborhood, was in pre-evacuation status.
The list, our list, had to be made. So from fifteen hundred miles away
we put our heads together, she and I, and typed consonants riddled
with vowels that represented the things of earth we hold most dear.
The neighbors have a set of keys to the house, our house, so with hearts
that grew beyond their usual largesse they ungrinchingly stepped from
room to room to check it twice, the list that is –
*entire shelf of photo albums plus large framed picture of the kids
*leash and harness for the beagle (don’t forget beagle)
*stack of bills and car keys
*her laptop computer
*three specific stuffed animals in kids’ rooms
*my cowboy boots
If the fire kept breathing we believed, she and I, that we could take
those seven seeds and replant a life, our life. But as other souvenirs of
our brief season flashed across our smoky minds we ached at the
thought of her father’s Greek fishing hat and the turquoise ring I
bought as a child in Santa Fe and the silver Christmas star that hangs
year-round in our kitchen window, the once etched with the word,
our word: H-O-P-E.
Please continue to pray for ones who did lose their homes, at least 346 homes, in the Waldo Canyon fire. Yes, they have their lives, and for that they and I am truly thankful. But the loss of objects of our past is great, and the tears are real and there is no shame in weeping.

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  1. Diana Trautwein on July 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    We’ve been through this here in our neck of the woods – and it is real, hard grief to lose most everything you own. You lose small pieces of yourself as you lose parts of your personal history. And you cannot think of everything, even when you make a list. For most of the 20 families in our congregation, there was literally no time to salvage even one thing. They watched their homes burned as they scurried down the hill. Praying for all of those in the path of these flames – and all of those whose memories were laid waste.

    • thebeautifuldue on July 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      Diana, thanks for your comment…your phrase – ‘real, hard grief’ – is right on.

  2. mbdeaton on July 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Do you mind if I post this on a blog I write with my friends? It captures something that I want to share with them.
    -brett.deaton at gmail

  3. genesmith12 on July 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    i can’t even begin to imagine John. i’d like to share this as well, i have many friends in that canyon.

  4. If I Stand… | Seth Haines on July 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    […]  He’s a Colorado native, so I reckon you right-well know what that means.  I read “The List…” and figured a prayer for […]

  5. Kiki Malone on July 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I’m here by way of our mutual Seth Haines appreciation. Here it was only three weeks ago that I was in Denver smelling smoke in the air and feeling a mighty grip on my own inward effects. Your honesty about the power of possessions, when we so frivolously decry possessions because we’re “above these things”, is powerful. Sir, you have neighbors in Texas speaking rain and water on your land and your thirst for a restful day.

    • thebeautifuldue on July 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Kiki…and for your prayers too.

  6. patriciaspreng on July 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    The threat was daunting, terrifying for our friends who were overseaas at the time their house burned down. It was surreal to see photos of homes burned to the very foundation, leaving nothing standing when ordinary firefighting efforts at least leave the usual burned framework, etc.
    But replanting with 7 seeds… yes… and the greatest of these is hope.
    Continuing prayers in the aftermath.

  7. Mark Grace on July 5, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Sorry I am coming so late to this, John. Our prayers were not lagging, however, and they continue for you and everyone else affected by these fires.

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