Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I work with a writer who is brilliant. She's a down to earth, normal, every day person, but she's a genius with words. Somehow she always manages to write what I think but don't know how to say.

I read one of her stories and one paragraph spoke to so many things in my life that I highlighted it. I ran across it again today.

"I wanted my outside to match my inside. Inside, I felt battered and lost and sad and tired. I wanted to see bruises and scrapes and black eyes and broken limbs. I dreaded going home with no scars that could be seen. Scars would remind people that I was changed. The sameness would make them forget."

I'm still struggling with turmoil from the fire that burned all the trees on the mountain behind our house, caused the evacuation of 32,000 people in my city, and destroyed 346 homes in my neighborhood. I still have a home and my immediate neighborhood is untouched. In fact, the devastation doesn't start until about 3-4 blocks from my house.

Stand in my driveway and all you can see are homes, people, deer, green trees, green lawns, flower gardens, dogs, cats, and all the other things that are part of a normal neighborhood.

But go down half a block and you see the mountain with its black, burned sticks and the massive quarry that stood in the way, giving the firefighters a chance to keep the fire from destroying us.

Yet, there is evidence in small bits here and there that we were indeed granted exceptional mercy. The chunk of charcoal in my garden and the burn streak in a neighbor's driveway. The small, burned bits of wood that floated down into our yards after the heat left them and they lost their loft.

I have friends who are affected more. One lost her home completely and one still has a home that is surrounded by the rubble and ash of her neighbor's homes.

Who am I to suffer so? And yet I do. Like my writer coworker I feel that external scars would somehow make it easier by bearing witness to the internal ones.

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