Memories of Flame and Fortitude

Lamentations 3:22-24

“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Anyone who has lived in Colorado knows that something crazy is always happening. We regularly swap between intense heat and frigid nights. All is capped with freak mid-July snowstorms and hail that can kill you.

It is commonly known that if you do not like the weather at the moment, wait ten minutes and you will get something new. Or, as my family puts it, “You can get all the seasons in the year in one day in Colorado.” Here, we also tend to have massive thunderstorms and flash floods nearly every week. If not, then there is a forest fire happening somewhere.


When we first heard about the Waldo Canyon Fire, it was not from the news or TV. In fact, I had spent the weekend in the mountains with a friend of mind, and as we drove home we passed through an area that was evacuated from the fire. I actually saw the flames of the fire that destroyed more property than any historical fire in Colorado. However, that was just the beginning. During the Waldo Canyon Fire, I spoke to my friend as she got home and was forced to pack up her most valuable items and evacuate to another location, praying that her home would still be there when she returned.

But that fire did not cause my family to worry. We knew the firefighters would get control of the fire, they always did.

A few years later, when at the 100th birthday of my great grandma, we saw smoke rising from the direction we drove from. After a short investigation online and into local reports, we discovered that the forest we lived in was aflame. Immediately, the entire family leaped into the car to drive home. Our relatives who lived farther into the forest were on immediate evacuation orders. We helped them pack up their house and hunt desperately for anyone who would board their horses and animals.

For the rest of that evening, my family barely spoke a word. We had lost all power and spent most of the night cleaning out the fridge and throwing away anything that would go bad quickly. I remember going into my room and packing a backpack of everything I would need in case we were evacuated. My father assured us we would not be evacuated, but I was on edge.

The next morning, we were evacuated.

Two uneasy weeks passed as we tried to settle in our minds that we may not have a home when we returned. Unlike the Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed an exponential  amount of property, the Black Forest Fire destroyed more homes than ever on record.

Luckily, ours was not one of them. For the next few years, and still today, I drive through the burned forest and devastation that made me cry the first time we saw it.

But there was something else we saw beside the devastation.


There was hope. Life. And above all, gratitude. Both fires saw an immediate rise from the community as volunteers poured in to help restore homes and rebuild lives.


The quote says, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” -Epictetus

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand, brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” -Eileen Caddy

“In daily life we must see that it is not the happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” -Brother David Steindl-Rast

The world would be a bleak place without the ability and grace to be grateful. When my house still stood before my eyes as we drove home after two long weeks of strain, then my heart left within my.

God is good. God put us there to help those who had lost everything, and I am forever grateful for it. Gratitude changes the way we look at our situations.

You can lose everything, but still be thankful for those who fought for that piece of earth we call home.

Find gratitude in your heart today. Even in the most dire of circumstances, still I will praise the Lord because He has not left me! The Lord is good.

Be blessed today.


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