Fire, Fire, House on Fire, V17, #09

by Leslie Sann

“Giving to give is one of the greatest joys of life.”

~ Leslie Sann

I’m sitting here working. Doing admin tasks. Not my favorite. Cajoling myself to finish … just one more thing … oh … one more … ‘Uh, what’s that noise?’ I think as my attention gets drawn outside. ‘Geez it’s noisy … it’s freezing outside and dark … what’s going on out there?… Is someone chainsawing a tree? … It is dark … There must be some crazy kids doing something silly.’ And so on as my focus is continually interrupted by the noise and my attention is pulled from the task at hand.

Maybe 15 minutes into the noise I finally get up and look out my window. My itty bitty street is full of flashing lights with 14+ fire support vehicles including three giant trucks all flashing their emergency lights!

WOW. This was unexpected.

I go outside and ask a fireman what’s up.

“Your neighbor is having an incident.”

“What does that mean?” I ask. “Is there a fire? Did the cat fall out a window? Is someone having a domestic quarrel?”

He is silent.

My neighbor appears out of the dark.

This is the same man who came out on a bitter cold night and helped me shovel my drive. A man who just last week, moved my garbage bins as they had blown over in the fierce wind. Jim has now joined me and the guy in the enormous fireman outfit, the outdoor temperature 21°.

I find out what’s up.

There was a fire. It has been put out. Cause as yet unknown.

I make sure Jim is okay and the house will remain standing and go back in to my toasty abode as I’m shivering with the cold. Cozied in, I realize Jim is standing outside and his sister is in her car with her little dog in her lap. I suddenly awaken to the facts. I’m in here comfortably warm. They are outside shivering.

I find them and invite them into my home. They hem and haw just a bit and finally concede. I light a fire where fires go in homes, my wood burning fireplace, and make them all some tea. It was lovely to care for them.

The head fireman comes to the door. I’m not sure how he fit in through my doorway with all those fire clothes on, and here he is, sitting with Jim, going over the report. Evidence points to Jim’s grandson having tossed a smoldering cigarette butt through the window which fell somewhere on the house which then caught fire.

No lie. That is what happened.

A couple of hours later there was more noise. It sounded like chainsawing again. This time it WAS a saw as the open hole in the side of the house was getting boarded up.

Tucking myself in, reflecting on the evening, I realized, it was the best part of my week. Caring for my neighbors soothed the rough edges of life. I realized how much joy there is in kindness, making a positive difference in the lives of another. It feels good doing for another. For me it is nourishment.

To be of service is one of the greatest blessings of my life. That is why I am so grateful for the work I do. I love to love, and I am guessing so do you.