Today I was working on setting up a more formal structure for this blog. I have moved it to its own domain, building1home.com. As I was transferring the content of the past few months and putting key words and meta tags I found myself at a loss for words. Rebuilding after a fire is a unique experience and writing this blog and the stories we have to tell are hard to catalog.
So many of our stories have sad and funny moments. Like anyone, we have sad and funny moments. Our lives these days are not as grief-filled as they were even a few weeks ago. Most days, most of the time, we are not thinking about what is gone or what we need to do to get on with our lives. Most of the time we are thinking about things we would have thought of if the fire had not come: laundry, dinner, tomorrow’s tasks, booking Christmas flights to be with family, the election and such. Sometimes, some days, the fire haunts us like it did me one day last week. Sometimes it is irritating and almost makes us mad. Picking meta terms was hard.
After reviewing some of the earlier posts I realized that the word bittersweet fit well. Another term that fit was tenderhearted. I liked grief and loss. Family is good. Home, house, and home construction are all useful terms. I have included inspirational because so many people written us telling us that our story is inspirational. They also said it was hopeful. House fire, wildfire, and residential fire certainly fit. Trying to sum up your experiences of change so profound in a few words is daunting. Before the fire I would never have thought to pick, or even have, meta terms for my life. Documenting in writing, and thinking of the types and structures of the stories has forced us to think more about the stories and their content. It is a whole new meaning to living intentionally. It a life observed, exposed by the fire.
Our land and the land around us is exposed. It has very little vegetation so there is no privacy from the road or even from the air. Our lives are more public. Hundreds and hundreds of people have driven by our house to see the devastation. A photo of it is on the internet from a news service. People we don’t know tell us they are praying for us. Friends and people we know only online send us gifts and well wishes. People let us know about the blog and that it is helpful to them. We even live on a road that has more traffic in one day than our old road in a week. Sometimes we hear people talking about the poor fire victims. Sometimes it is necessary to explain to someone why you cannot bring them the papers they request. We have passports but we have no record of our immunizations we took when we used those passports.
So, a sort of jaded weariness attends you. It is weariness of having to deal with your regular job and life when there is a backdrop of trying twice as hard to figure out how to do it with the challenges you have. Missing things, reminds me that they are gone. When we realize so many things are gone, we think about the fact that we had and have replaced so many things. Understanding that reminds us how privileged we were, and continue to be. We have food to get from one day to the next and more. We have clothes, we have a car, we have a piece of land that is ours even though the house is no longer there. We have the reasonable expectation that there will be a house there again. We are, by world standards, very, very rich.
We are rich, indeed. Along with our worldly possessions we have family. We have friends. We have a church community, and we have colleagues. Tonight I got yet another private message from a person on the art and design social media site Polyvore.com. The person began as so many do, that we did not know her but that she was inspired by our blog and wanted to let us know we were in her thoughts and prayers.
Our dog has licked a sore spot onto her paw. We have tried to interrupt her frequent licking by asking her the commend she has learned means stop if she is a “paw licker” which is play on the old-country term “pot liquor.” Pot liquor is the water that has cooked down when vegetables are boiled, generally greens such as turnip and mustard greens. It is prized with cornbread and butte milk. When we ask Sophie if she is a “paw licker” she covers her foot and looks at us like, “Who, not me. Now you cannot see my foot so it does not exist.” Tonight I took a good look at her foot and decided that it needed to be cleaned and treated with antibiotic ointment. She was doing well with being doctored but I somehow managed to squirt enough antibiotic ointment between her toes to fill it up like a jelly doughnut. We laughed and even she wagged her tail. I reduced the amount of the ointment and gave her a treat. She was not happy to be medically treated but she was happy to be treat-treated.
Being a fire victim is like that. You feel stressed so you pick away at your life. Then, someone notices that it hurts and offers you assistance. When you hide the distress like Sophie does her paw, someone will find you out. Then you, like our poor dog Sophie, are at risk of becoming like a jelly doughnut. You get too much goo inside of you when you don’t quite understand. Inevitably someone comes by who really likes jelly doughnuts and reaches out, with compassion and interest, to hear your story and offer their thoughts and prayers.
I am at a loss as to how to meta tag being a jelly doughnut but I am not at a loss trying to figure out the other thing. The meta tag for someone reaching out to you is love and caring.