When I visit a vacation or retreat spot and enjoy the experience, if they have a monthly or quarterly newsletter, I sign up. Even if it is unlikely that I will ever have a chance to go back, it is a way of remembering and supporting the people that gifted wonderful and enduring memories. With the news of fires nearby, I wondering, prayed, and hoped for the staff of a retreat center.
Yesterday a newsletter arrived. As good and bad as the news was, a click on the link to their website made everything real. When I close my eyes, I can smell a mix of dusty oak and pine trees. I feel the silent laced air restoring my heart. As I reflect on a recent view from above the retreat center there is little left! I reread the email. It was easy to hear the cries of the staff hearts; “Your wildfire anger has blazed through my life; I’m bleeding, black and blue.” (Psalm 88.16) Everyone got out alive! Everything that was, except for the springs, is gone. Jobs, possessions, and a place that was home to the staff were consumed in the fire that raged through the area. What was consumed cannot be replaced but it can be rebuilt as something new.
I remember visiting with a touch of sadness, I find myself thankful for their gifts. I came tired and left refreshed. I walked in with my eyes looking to the past and walked away grounded in the present. I entered with uncertainty and left with peace. Every moment is an invitation to do the same – reflect, discover, embrace the beauty from yesterday to live the same within the present.
Devastation touches everyone without consideration.
The outcomes of devastation are visible and tangible; pain, destruction, and a loss felt through our souls and into our hearts.
The impact of beauty, wonder, and love endures. Once gifted it cannot be taken back. It endures, it continues to touch, it continues to heal. I find that gift motivating me today. We can make a difference.