In case you haven't heard, a huge portion of Central Texas is either on fire now or has been on fire recently. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed. Evacuation orders are in place. And there is no rain. Oh Gracious God, please bring rain.
One of the fires started Monday afternoon. The map says it is about 3.5 miles from my house (driving), but as the crow flies, it was probably about 1.5 miles. Hubby and I had been to see a matinee at the local movie house and when we came out, we could see the smoke. Hopefully you don't know this, but the color of smoke from burning homes/buildings is a different color than the smoke from burning fields. We knew. We knew there were homes burning.
The fire lasted for hours. After dark we could see the flames above the treeline. Daddy says when he drove by there Tuesday morning, the firefighters were still putting out hot spots. We prayed that it would not flare up again the way fires have been known to do.
And then we heard the news. The fire that had destroyed 11 homes and damaged at least 6 others had been an act of arson. (see here) Seriously? When almost every one of the 254 counties in Texas has had a burn ban in effect for months, setting a fire seems like a good idea? Really?
There are four suspects, all believed to be teenagers. It only took me a few seconds of trying to understand it before I realized that I could not begin to relate in any way to wanting to set a fire like that.
Side note: In case you are wondering, I have wanted to set a fire before. The week before I went to treatment for my eating disorder, I had starved my brain so badly that I was having all kinds of wild thoughts. I was angry and I kept on wanting to set things on fire (pyromaniacal tendencies in women are extremely rare). Unfortunately, due to a former boyfriend who used to pick the brain of the Arson Investigator who went to our church, I knew some useful ways of setting fires. I didn't want to burn down homes or harm a human with the fires, but I still wanted to burn some things up. So when I tell you that I tried to find some way of identifying with the teens who set our local fire on Monday, I really thought it might be possible. Back to our story...
Nope. Just could not figure out what would cause somebody to want to endanger so many lives like that. And I was not in the mood for showing mercy, either. Quite frankly, I wanted to send the Wicked Witch of the West's Flying Monkeys after them.
Right on the heels of the Flying Monkey thought came a Voice whispering, "but what about second chances, Carolyn?" I cannot say that I was thrilled to hear that Voice at that moment. I'm still learning this deal. I'm still learning to share second chances with others instead of trying to hog them all for myself.
So this week, on Second Chance Wednesday, I'm working just a little bit harder than the previous weeks. I don't have faces to put on posters. I have vague descriptions of the culprits, but no identities. If one of those teens walked up to me right now and confessed to setting the fire, I would have to drop to my knees and pray hard before I could offer any help at all. I'm praying right now that I can see those kids as "never beyond"...