Posted tagged ‘Fire’

What Is Meaningless and Meaningful?

June 12, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                     June 12, 2013

About twenty-four hours ago a fire started in the area northeast of our city called Black Forest. My wife Carol took pictures from our neighborhood as the afternoon progressed. We can see from the photos how the blaze rapidly spread. Black Forest is heavily wooded, but most of the problem has resulted from dry, hot and windy conditions. Shifting winds has caused concern about where the fire might head next.

If there is one thing our local firefighting units learned what Waldo Canyon it’s the ability to know what needs to be done, and also, what is out of our control.

I was amazed last night as the tension increased in direct correlation to the increasing mushroom cloud of smoke in the air by the fact that the local ABC TV station was getting a number of phone calls from people who were concerned about whether the Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs NBA game was going to be shown. One minute there was the image on the TV screen of a home with a fire consuming it, and the next minute the screen shifted to LeBron James shooting a jump shot.

Meaningful and a life-changing event to…forgive me for saying it…a meaningless event whose greatest impact is putting more money into the pockets of a few people who already have too much money.

Our lives are a constant sifting of clutter and vital, superficial and sacred. Not that I’m advocating a life that is always focused on the essential, because we need times of laughter, even meaningless laughter.

We just need better balance, a improved ability to keep things in perspective. LeBron’s stats pale in comparison to a hundred homes burning to the ground. Fires, such as our area has experienced, has a way of burning away the things that don’t really have lasting value, and firming up within our hearts what we can’t place a value on.

The thought is now within my mind: what might we take with us if we get evacuated?     Lawnmower? No!

Big screen television? No.

Twenty year old coffee mug that I got at the Promise Keepers Conference at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan? That’s hard…but no!

Pictures of the kids? Yes! Folders of things the kids brought home from school or made in church when they were growing up? Yes.

Suits? No. It would give me another excuse for not having to wear one.

Wedding album?

Yes. Awesome looking tux and beautiful bride!

In other words I’d be carrying a lot of pictures and memories, but even if I didn’t have those I’d be content just knowing that my wife was safe.

Some may blame my perspective on my age, but one scene from yesterday’s fire rings true with me. It was a group of young teens faced with the very real possibility that their homes were gone, but their emotional turmoil was focused on the franticness of trying to find their parents.

X Boxes are nice. Dad’s are irreplaceable.

Mountain bikes are cool! Moms are beyond cool.

From The Fire, A New Kind of Community”

July 13, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                        July 13, 2012



The fires here in Colorado Springs changed everything! In the midst of burned out homes, and neighborhood blocks that mysteriously now only have a third of the homes that were there a month ago, there has been the sprinklings of a new kind of community being born.

The community, however, is not new homes where charred remains lie. It’s not a new “development” with HOA fees, 30 year mortgages, and the sound of moving vans.

No…this new community is being born in the midst of newly created partnerships, shared resources, thousands and thousands of volunteers, prayer, tears, and a bonding together because of a tragedy that will, in some ways, change Colorado Springs from being a city filled with self-centered, personal agenda people to a community of people who are figuring out that the journey is to be made together.

Rich Blanchette, Annie Wamberg, and I went to the second meeting of the Waldo Canyon Long Term Recovery Group yesterday. We received an education in less than two and a half hours about disaster relief, available resources, what has been done already, but, most importantly, what is yet to be done. The “Yet To Be Done” is a long term journey that has the potential to solidify “community”.

Of course, it also has the potential to create a city of have’s and have-not’s. We are often people with limited attention spans. After the rest of the country returns to it’s routines, Colorado Springs will be dealing with clean-up, rebuilding, figuring out solutions of dilemmas that no one else cares about. What will build a city with character and caring is a citizen base that stays the course for the years that it will take to recover.

It was refreshing at yesterday’s meeting to see church representatives sitting beside denominational reps, who were sitting beside service organization people, who were sitting beside government agency reps. Catholics and Protestants working together, but also a representative from the Muslim community.

No political ads were voiced! No preference towards one denomination’s efforts! No “this is how we’re going to do it!” In fact, the sharing of past experiences from many of the participants was a guiding factor in helping this group figure out very carefully what our next step is.

On the sub-group that Rich and I are a part of called “Clean-up/Salvage/Trees/Mitigation” there are team members from Village Seven Presbyterian, First Baptist Church, Glen Eyrie (The Navigators), Mennonite Relief Effort, Salvation Army, the Director of Missions for the area Southern Baptist churches, and the two of us from Highland Park. The sharing of resources and the training of volunteers has already started. The Southern Baptist churches are sponsoring a training event in two weeks that will train volunteers in the task of “ash out” and “using a chain saw.” Other sub-groups were communicating opportunities and needs.

In essence, it demonstrated how a city can become a community. So many questions…so many situations…and we are prayerfully seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit for answers, wisdom, and new hope.

And God has prepared his church for such a time as this!