“Love never fails…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:8a,13 NIV)
It isn’t easy losing everything you own, but it can teach you a lot. It happened to me when I was only 11 years old. My brothers, Mom, Dad, and Nana all lived together in her 70 year old ramshackle, wooden house. One summer night Nana’s scream woke up my brother and me. My brother pulled me out of bed and yelled there was a fire in the house. There was so much smoke. There was so much confusion. We all ran towards the front door. At the last second Mom saw our little dog and picked him up, saving him from the flames. Then we were outside dressed only in what we were sleeping in while the house burned to the ground in a matter of minutes along with everything in it. That scene was burned into my mind forever. I can still see my Mom crying while my Dad cursed in frustration as we lost everything we owned.
The memories after that night are cloudier. Perhaps it was the shock of it all. I remember being wrapped in blankets by the firemen and going to the house of a family friend. I remember not sleeping well at night in this strange new place. I remember people arriving with donated clothes for all of us. I remember Dad searching through the rubble but only being able to save my Mom’s wedding rings. Most of all I remember seeing my usually feisty and cheerful Nana crying in secret. I remember the sadness in Mom’s eyes and the gloom that hung over Dad while he searched for a place for us to live. In my innocent mind I wondered if we were cursed or if God just hated us.
One evening, though, as we gathered around our friend’s dining room table I heard something I hadn’t heard in a while: laughter. Mom, Dad, and Nana were smiling again, sharing funny, old stories. I joined in the laughter and felt Mom gently touch my hand. I knew then that everything would be alright, that God did love us, and life would go on. I realized too that when you have nothing left but Love, you finally see that Love is enough. I have carried that wisdom in my heart ever since. It has nurtured my life and shaped my soul. That is why I am sharing it with you now. May you always have love. May you always have enough.
Joseph J. Mazzella