I can still remember that late summer night when I was eleven. I can still remember my Grandmother’s scream that woke me from my sleep. I can still remember my brother grabbing me out of bed and yelling that there was a fire in the house. I can still remember the confusion as we all ran through the smoke filled rooms towards the front door. I can still remember my Mom seeing our little dog at the last instant and picking him up as we ran out the door. I can still remember all of us standing there wearing only the night clothes we were sleeping in while my Grandma’s 50 year old house burned to the ground in a matter of minutes along with everything we owned. The flames that burned down our house also burned that memory into my mind forever. I can still see my Mom, Dad, brothers, Grandma, and I standing there crying and wondering what we were going to do after losing everything we had.
It was only later that I realized that God in His love and goodness had ,in fact, spared us from losing the one true treasure each of us had: our lives. Every essential thing that we needed had come out that door with us. Our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls were all unhurt and that was all we needed to live in love and joy again. We were still a family. We were still together. We could still hold each other, laugh, and share our love and happiness at being alive. Soon thanks to the goodness of our community and extended family we had replaced what material things we had lost and moved into another home. I would never again, however, consider the things of this world as important as the love we share from our hearts and the joy we spread from our souls.
One day all the things we now own will like that house turn to ashes and dust. Let us not waste our lives living for them. Let us instead focus on what is essential, what is eternal, and what is truly important in this life: loving each other just as God loves us.
Joseph J. Mazzella email@example.com