I can't ignore the major news that has been all around me. Living in
Southern California, fire has dominated the news over the last week
and a half.
Many of the lessons that we are learning from the fires are useful and
I should keep a defensible area around my home.
I should know what my insurance coverage is and where the physical policy is.
I need a plan for evacuation if necessary.
It would be a good idea to have a list of things I would want to
gather up if I needed to evacuate quickly.
I should take pictures or video of the interior of my home to document what might be lost to my insurer.
And so on....This is where we men naturally go when faced with this
type of circumstance.
But, I come back to the idea that God puts physical circumstances in
my life to teach me spiritual lessons. My wife has recently told me
that I've been "edgy lately." Even the fact that I felt irritated by
the remark let me know that she was right. It is ironic that I work
for a company called "EDGE," because much of my edginess finds its
roots there. So, I have been "edgy lately." That translates to
impatient, frustrated and angry. It expresses itself in scary facial
expressions, verbal outbursts and physical exhaustion.
What I've been taught is that anger, impatience and frustration are
"secondary emotions." In essence, they are the "smoke" that indicates
that a fire is burning somewhere. Other important (primary) feelings
precede anger, impatience and frustration. As I think about how the
fires have made me feel, I've come up with this list:
out of control
awed (at the power of destructive ability of fire)
relief (at the fact that fire has not come my way (yet))
wondering (about the future)
sympathy for others' losses
outrage (at the thought of arson)
inspired (by the offers by so many to help and pray)
Two questions help me to determine the spiritual lesson from the
physical circumstance of the fires:
First, did Christ ever feel any of these emotions? 2000 years have
passed, but outrage then felt as outrage feels now. And a bridge is
instantly erected that connects me to Him. He came to be one of us, to experience what we experience, to feel what we feel. And when I acknowledge that He felt what I am feeling, it honors that effort on His part.
Second, have I caused someone close to me (my wife, first) to feel any of these feelings? Being self-aware enough to know how deeply vulnerable I can be made to feel by a fire...I wonder how vulnerable I've made my wife feel when the fire of my anger flares? I don't like it...at all (Christ did not come to make people feel vulnerable, but to be strength to them)...I apologize for it...I ask forgiveness for
it...I commit to not letting myself put my wife (or others close to me) in a vulnerable position again. God, please help me in my weakness...