Tragedy is something that happens periodically to all of us.  Sometimes not directly but indirectly.  This past Thursday, evening tragedy struck only a few feet away as a fire erupted and burned down my neighbors home.   Days later and I am still running the course of events through my head in an attempt to reconcile the events.

The time was somewhere around seven-thirty in the evening.  I was mentally engulfed watching the show Supernatural when I began hearing loud voices outside.  Finally, I was too curious and had to investigate.  Perhaps my neighbors were having an argument.When I opened my front door The odor of smoke was apparent and was beginning to come out my neighbor’s house on my north side.

Less than a minute goes by and the smoke becomes darker and begins billowing out their front door.  Next, I hear something like small explosions.I quickly warn my mother that something is amiss.  Rushing to my back kitchen door I am greeted with the sight of flames on my neighbor’s back porch.  Retreating back inside I notice that my bedroom windows are completely lit up in an eerie red light.I take one more look out back and the entire porch is an inferno and another extremely loud explosion occurs.Time was obviously of the essence.

I  tell my 83 year old mother we need to get outside.  Opening the front door, a young man arrives to help us out.  Grabbing only my wallet and cell phone, we exit out home to the driveway.  Volunteer firemen tell us all to go across the street because they need the room to work.  We watched the events unfold as three fire trucks arrive and begin their work fighting the flames.

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I was so worried as I watched the flames grow higher lapping at the borders of my home.  Surely we would lose everything also.  God was with us this night.  No injuries were reported and my house only suffered melted window blinds and broken window glass.  Tragedy, be it our own or someone Else’s, comes and goes like the wind.  Here one minute and gone the next.

I think in some ways it is a good thing because it brings out the very heart of people.  Not only were people helping and consoling those who lost their homes but they tried to help everyone.  In one moment there was no lines of race or income or social status.  It was a time of simply caring and good will.I say this because My mother and I experienced some of this goodwill.

My legs were weak and I could hardly stand but I was holding onto my mother trying to keep her warm and calm.  Several people helped by bringing my mother a chair, another brought her a blanket to cover from the cold and others offered drinks and water.  Others including firemen checked to make sure she was okay.  It meant a lot to me to receive these acts of kindness.  I think my soul truly needed it.

Let us not forget my neighbors.  They lost everything except for a few clothes.  Such a tragic loss.  Now, with help of their extended family and friends they work to start over again and I pray for them a lot.

This tragedy is not like tragedy experienced all over the world and purposely caused by man’s inhumanity.  But, it gives us a small taste of what is out there waiting for us.My only hope is that it is our humanity that prevails in the end.

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