It’s nine in the morning and I walked out with my camera to see the aftermath.
Because I’m nosy.
Because it was the house just on the other side of my neighbor.
Because I was awoken by a barking dog and a curious husband and a hundred red and blue and white lights outside my bedroom window.
Because there was smoke.
Smoke like a pillar and a orange flames licking at the bottom of it, curls of fire racing up into nothing, into black night.
This morning, I walked out and saw the last remaining truck driving away.
I stepped around the puddles, some larger and deeper than spring thaw.
I saw the remnants of someone’s home. I saw the melted sides of the neighboring house. Heat consumes, spreads, damages.
I remember trick or treating at their house with my children. I remember the plastic bottles of juice and the card table set with boxes of King Sized candy bars.
Someone’s home, someone’s life.
After smoke. After fire.
I told him, well, yes. But death isn’t forever if we have accepted the grace of Jesus.
Jesus conquered death, Vinnie added.
With the big rock thing? Asher asked.
Well, with the cross. Vinnie and I explained. But yes, the rock did move.
And does the devil try to get us to be bad? To do bad things?
No, actually. Human nature makes us want to do bad things. All Satan really hopes for us to do is just be so comfortable that we don’t think we even need saving.
Of course, these are deeper things than a four (almost five) year old can process, especially one who was only asking questions, on and on and on, as a means to keep himself from dozing off on a car ride.
The devil…is he even near us?
No. I answered, quickly, firmly, decisively. The devil is not near you, Asher. I wanted to put my hands on his shoulders and look him in the eyes and tell him again and again, you are loved and you are protected, and the devil can’t touch you.
But the truth is, I know there is smoke. There is fire.
There is a world of heat, melting down the walls of those closest, burning down itself to the ground.
There are people, families, lives, on fire.
And, in this life, sometimes, there isn’t a darn thing we can do, but pray and watch as the smoke pours out into the night sky, and the embers fall back to earth, and the trucks all eventually pull away.
Easter, come soon.