Monday, September 7, 2009
House burned down
my house has burned to the ground
My son's house burned to the ground Thursday night. No, there's no punchline; it burned down. The only parts left standing were the fireplace, the chimney, and one brick wall. Noone was hurt, they were all out of the house: Adam was on his way home from work and his wife & kids were away at her mother's in Georgia.
One of the neighbors noticed smoke and called the fire department, but told them that the roof already had collapsed into the upper floor. The three fire trucks that came focused on keeping the fire from spreading to the adjoining trees and surrounding forest. I don't know if anybody has speculated what caused the fire, but it sure did a number on the house. My son and his family were pretty much in shock up through Friday at least.
Karen and I drove down early Saturday morning -- to give moral support, to help them review their options, and to take down some clothes donated by employees in my department at work. An obvious haiku would be the one about the farmer having a better view of the moon now that his barn had burned down. My thoughts keep bouncing back to the Chinese glyph for 'crisis' being the same as the one for 'opportunity'.
Certainly we all mourn the loss of momentos, heirlooms, early family photographs and the like, and yet .... what might you do if sent this crisis, this opportunity? Would you rebuild the same style house on the same spot, buy the same kind of furniture, tools, utensils and appliances, step back into the same boxes as before? Or would you give some thought to what else might you be able to do now, and where might you want to do it?
With ample insurance reimbursement, a house could be built again, sure -- but where would you want that house want to be? What would you want to do out of that house? Maybe you'd buy a motor home and travel. Maybe rent instead of buy? Instead of buying the tools you're used to, is there something else you'd want to attempt, try out, do, or be? And then the biggest question of all -- why wait for a crisis to think about these options?