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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reflections on watching the Waldo Canyon Fire descend

I spent the day soaking in the insane heat of the Colorado sun today. I worked in the yard picking out of the rocks every little weed I could find, watering the flowers I bought and planted on Saturday—the day the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out—and labeling things in the garage. I was in denial. Certainly this danger would be like the hurricanes we dodged in Ft. Lauderdale, FL or the tornadoes that skirted past us in Aurora, IL. We would scurry around preparing things only to find that we piled all our stuff in the middle of the floor for a false alarm or huddled in the basement with wide eyes only for our vegetable garden to get rained on.

I decided a couple days ago that if I saw the flames come up over the ridge that it would be time to go. But when I saw the first glimpse of flames…not coming from behind, but already an inch down the mountain, I couldn’t believe it. Is it really time? Could this be happening? I was, well, what is the word? Dumbstruck, amazed, entranced…the power of the flames was like watching a storm approach and I could barely take my eyes off “my” perfectly triangular mountain outlined in burning trees. “My” mountain. How many other people look out their window at breakfast and consider it their own mountain?

I looked around the house. Sure I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this place. Many times I wanted to escape the walls, the endless stairs, the million little things that need to be fixed, cleaned and replaced. But I certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to it. So many memories and experiences happened here. So much pain—and growth—came with it as a backdrop. I know the sounds, the smells and the light of this house and it’s become a comfort to me. Seven years ago I moved in one person, and today I escaped another.

As I drove away, I checked the garage door a second time as is required when you have my personality. It didn’t matter that the door is broken and only closes when you override the sensor from inside the house. There’s no way it could have been open, but I wanted it to be safe—checking was all I could do.

And now checking is what I can’t do. I don’t want to see our neighborhood swallowed up by that mighty flame. So here I am on the floor with my computer—procrastinating. I just don’t want to check anymore.

We are all settled at Jon's parents' house in Palmer Lake. Sky is chirping on her swing, Cheerio is sleeping on a yellow towel and the kids are in the next room dreaming (I hope) of Phineas and Ferb. I kissed their clean little heads (we had to wash all the smoke smell off of us. I don't think I am going to enjoy a campfire for a long while!) I am so thankful that we’re all here. It will be even better when Jon and our oldest daughter come back to Colorado from Illinois on Thursday and we are ALL together.

I can't believe how blessed we are. We had to leave our home today, but God provided a place where we can shower, go to Walmart to buy our son new sandals (he got in the van without shoes!), have dinner, and watch a beautiful sky at dusk as the crushing heat seeps away. It's hard to believe there is a fire at all with the clear air and the nice conversation we had. I am glad.

The news was on when I came upstairs after talking to Jon on the phone. I saw a snippet of the houses in the neighborhood across from ours burning and I could barely stand it. Oh, God. Please provide…you always do. So why do we doubt? Because we think we have a better way? Because we want it our way? Yes, that is it for me. So God, if you choose to allow our house to burn, I thank you that you will provide in the way that you see fit. Perhaps it is that you show me a way to cope—and grow—through this. Perhaps it is the peace you have given me this whole day—the peace that passes understanding. Whatever your provision, I want to accept it because you know what is best, and I trust you. Amen.


Ingrid Atkins said...

Dear Mindy,
I am choked up reading your blog and having watched the fires burn all day along the Front Range. Thank you for sharing from your heart and giving me a new perspective with your conclusion. Not that I didn't "know", but sometimes I need to hear it over and over again. May God bless you and keep you and watch over you and your precious family. I love you more than words could ever express.
In Christ's All-Encompassing Love and Comfort, Ingrid <><

Linda Plett said...

Love you, my friend. I have friends here who are scared and sad, too. She just realized she left a box of precious pictures at her house and is grieving. While we are all trusting the Lord, it still can be hard. Still, I’m thankful that nobody has been hurt so far.

Anonymous said...

Mindy, thanks so much for sharing. Your post is making me process my own emotions. I hope and pray your house (and mine) were spared, but I know you're right. God is good, and provides, no matter what.

Standing with you,


misunderstood husband syndrome said...

Mindy, our love and prayers for you and your family. In all my years I haven't heard a fire tragedy like this in Colorado. I know God will deliver your home back to you and all will be well. Thank you for sharing what's on your heart and know we are thinking of you guys. God Bless.

Guy and Coni

Bonnie Bienert said...


Thank you for so eloquently sharing your heart. We used to live in San Diego and a huge fire also consumed the neighborhood of one of our closest friends. It is such a helpless feeling - yet we KNOW that God will provide for our every NEED. We are praying for you guys and praying for His Peace in the midst of the firestorm.

Tehani Warren said...

Oh Mindy, in the midst of this great trial I know only that all those around you, and especially those that are facing your same fears for their homes, they are seeing Christ shining thru your family, and I am positive God will bless your family as you literally are tried by fire. Whether it is thru sparing your home or taking your family in a new direction residentially, you will be blessed!! I stand by your side today pledging that our family will be lifting you all up. And there is always an open door for you all here with us in Boise, Idaho. I praise God all the more today for the great good He will bring to you and your family thru this time in your life. My heart is heavy with the words of Isaiah 41:10 "fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" this verse has always meant so much to because there have been many times God's righteous right hand has been all that has upheld me and strengthened me. I pray the. same to find you Mindy.

Tehani Warren

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...

Ingrid, thanks for your love and support! I know, we have to hear things over and over again! I hope you are all doing ok. Drop me an email and let us know how you're doing.

Linda, I’m so glad you can be there to give comfort to your friend. I can’t wait to give you a big hug soon.

Virginia, I am so glad that you’re safe. I too am hoping our homes are spared.

Guy and Coni, I miss you guys and Thursday prayers times. Thank you for investing in Jon and I and our family.

Bonnie, thanks for the encouraging words. Yes, he WILL provide exactly what we need—and he is the great parent who knows our needs better than we do.

Tehani, thank you for the uplifting words and prayers! That Scripture is so powerful. It’s so helpful to be reminded of God’s words.


Dean Goodmanson said...

Have you heard of your home is intact or still in danger?

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...


Thanks for your question. We have confirmation that our home is intact and just fine. We are still evacuated because of our proximity to the fire. So we are up with my parents until they allow us back in. Please pray for the hundreds of families who lost their homes.

Michelle B said...

Love you guys! So grateful you are all okay. You're in my thoughts.

Michelle B