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Humbled By a Fire

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

This week is all about being humble. There are many definitions and examples of being humbled and I would like to share with you how I was humbled this past weekend. On Friday night, I had a friend out at our cottage with her daughter and we had a girl's night planned. FYI, girl's night has a whole different meaning now. I love this friend so much because she has totally come alongside me in this new way of life. She even bought a bike!

Just as we were about to head out on those bikes, I got a call from my husband that one of our stores was on fire and he didn't know how bad it was. I was only 20 minutes away from this location and he was about 2 hours out, so my friend and I jumped in the car and headed that way. On the way there, we had to pull over no less than six times for fire trucks to pass us going each way. I said, “There is no way these could all be for our store.” But they were. The scene I came upon was horrific and impressive at the same time. Let me explain, and as I write this, the tears are flowing again. So emotional these days!

The building was fully engulfed and already about half gone. There were SIX fire departments on the scene all in charge of some part of the operation, and working together like a well oiled machine. The relief I felt when they told me none of our employees were injured is indescribable. I stood there very humbly watching for a long time…

  • as those fire fighters did their job, most of them volunteers.

  • as more and more people from our company showed up to help in any way they could and to support us.

  • as my phone blew up with text after text from friends and family as the story hit the local news.

  • as the community showed up to offer food and water to everyone there. (Remember how hot it was last Friday?)

  • as complete strangers came up to us telling us how much they valued our business in their community. Thank you, Twin Lakes!

  • as my dear friend spent her Friday night at a fire with me. God knew I needed her.

  • here’s the one that means more than you will ever know: being there for my husband as he walked across the lot towards me after a long 2-hour drive across the state; that I was present for him; that he could count on me to do what I could until he got there; most of all, that he didn't have to wonder if I was sober when he called.

I am humbled by all that happened that night. God showed up Friday night and I was humbled before him and everyone that stepped up in a tragic situation. It's just stuff, we have insurance, and no one was hurt. God is good is the understatement of the year. I am sure there aren't any fireman reading my blog so they will probably never see this, but I really wanted to share from my heart: many thanks.

Ok, Step 7 this week. But first, our review of the steps we’ve covered so far:

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our problems-that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3: We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.

Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7: We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

First it was character defects, and now it is shortcomings. Somehow that doesn't sound as bad as character defects. Shortcomings actually sounds like an oops. The definition of shortcomings is, “a fault or problem that makes someone or something less effective.”

Then there’s the fact that we are supposed to do this humbly. Which I don’t have a problem with. I think I am always humble when I go to God. How many times in scripture do we hear the phrase “humbly before God.” I would say quite a bit, but maybe I could do better with people? I am sure I could, because to practice humility means I have an honest desire to seek and do God’s will; nothing more and nothing less. Always room for improvement there.

In the big blue book of AA, Bill Wilson expanded this definition of being humble when he wrote that humility was, “the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.” I like that one too.

Here’s my weekly AA caveat. In AA, these steps are done with a sponsor which I did not choose to do. However, the track record of success in doing these steps with a sponsor in relation to drugs and alcohol has proven to have had great success in moving someone into living a life of sobriety. So if you are interested in looking at this from an AA perspective, I encourage you to pursue it! There is a ton of information out there.

Does anyone remember Calvinettes? Better known now as Gems? In the CRC Church I grew up in, I went to Calvinettes every other Monday night and it is one of my best memories of growing up in the church. Micah 6:8 was the verse we recited at the beginning of every meeting and it's never left me. I’m not saying I have always lived it, but I have never forgotten it. I know the theme song too, but since I can’t sing (according to my family) I’ll leave that one alone.

That verse which I have known since I was a little girl, is basically step seven. “To walk humbly with our God.” To do this we need to make honesty, tolerance, and true love of God and man the basis for our daily life. I cannot describe to you how much I felt that last Friday night. “True love of God and man.” This verse kept echoing in my brain.

Unfortunately, I don’t think humble usually describes me very well. I mean in a situation of that magnitude last Friday, I think anyone would be humble. I know that life experiences like that are going to make us more humble. Especially before God.

I was also humbled in a way that reminded me I was not in control. There's nothing wrong with a Friday night bike ride with a friend, but God's plan was different. That's the hardest part for me. That life can change in a split second. But, we accept his plan and move on. I think that’s a big part of being humble.

I find it unbelievable that in the drinking years and probably even before that, I may have thought I was better than others (aka not very humbled). Ouch, sorry but it’s true. I mean I wasn't making a conscious decision to think that way, nor did I realize it in that time of my life. But I see it now as I try really hard not to ever be that shallow again.

I think of when I was in a recovery meeting for the first time and thinking to myself, “I AM NOT LIKE THEM”! Really, Princess? I had all the same nasty habits they did, but I just made sure I didn't look the same as them? Oh yes! That’s right! My outside appearance was what counted, not what was so ugly on the inside. I didn't want anyone to see what was going on behind the mask. I made it clear (at least to me) that I was not in the same category as anyone else in those chairs. Not very humble and I carry some shame about who I was in those years. I probably should have opened the dictionary and looked up humility a long time ago.