Unsatisfied By Average

The Musings of a Stubborn Believer

It Seemed So Far Away…

Just a few days ago, it seemed so far away.

I know the smoke is making eyes water in Iowa, 1,000 miles away. And I know that the flames have left blackness half the size of the state of Rhode Island, (and counting fast) where last week were the most beautiful forests to be found a day’s drive in any direction. 
It makes me sick.
But it still seemed far away.

Even two days ago as I stood in uniform with a stethoscope around my neck, eyes and throat burning in acrid smoke and blowing dust, watching 10 trucks and two dozen men battle 300 acres of flames while 4 other fires burned simultaneously in our district with less attention (from one brief dry thunder storm)– even then, I could look past the crest of Arizona’s third tallest mountain where the aspens put on their show right after the first frost, and see the smoke… 

But distant is changing.

My lungs are on carbon overload. 
Ash falls like snow from time to time.

All day we listen to the radio call signs of people we know by first name, in gear for the inevitable.

A fire that started 70 miles away is now barely 30.
And most of the time it is too horrendously windy to use the 20 helicopters and 8 slurry bombers at the disposal of the thousands of brave men trying to fight it.

The Nebbletts flew over the fire themselves tonight. (thanks, Google Earth) and then over to the place they call home, and then back again.

And then they fell serious.

And in a moment, it was as if everything around me came into focus.
–Like all at once I could see things I wasn’t able to, when the fire seemed far away…

Treasure. Simple. Things.

Treasure the frying pan you’ve scrubbed so many, many times. I looked at ours long and hard when I pulled it out of the suds this evening. There are plenty of people that left home this week wishing they had room in their car to take theirs as they fled. 
Treasure the worn corners of the cozy rugs that testify of life lived in your house.
Treasure the dandelions that audaciously grow in the gravel of your driveway.

Dandelions are better than ashes.

Treasure the steaming bowl of soup.
Treasure the down in your pillow.
Treasure the eye’s twinkle.
Treasure the blue sky.
Treasure life.

Treasure life.

Tomorrow it might not be here.
Or at the very least, it might be very very different…

and if you think about it, please pray for rain…


  1. Thank you, Sean. I really needed that reminder. I have not treasured the little moments like I should today.

    I'm praying God sends all the rain clouds that have been up here in the Northwest down to the fire. And I'm praying that this fire will teach all the faithful to dwell under the shadow of the Almighty.

  2. From experiences with forest fires in the past, I can relate just a tiny bit. I think God is trying to wean us from this earth in any way He can…

    Praying for rain.

  3. We were talking about the fire ourselves last night.

    It was a little scary at first; but we serve a Big God and He has Big answers to our Big problems! Amen!

  4. I'll be praying for rain! And I'll be praying for you, my friend and your family's safety.

    But Amen to your post! Just what I needed.

  5. Praying… Praying!!

  6. I am praying for you guys!!!!!

  7. Thank you so much… All of you. Keep praying! The wind is not our friend.

  8. Praying for your family and others affected. I understand what you're going through. We came within 2 or 3 kilometers of the black Saturday fires here in Australia, and saw first hand the terrible destruction.

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  10. Thanks for sharing, Sean. I'm praying for all my NM friend's as well… It has been a week filled with trials- this fire, emotional battles, and a friend's battle with Leukemia (diagnosed just two days ago). But God is faithful in the good times and the bad… "and what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"

  11. Definitely praying for you guys! I, too, have experienced a small taste of what your family is going through. May God's will ultimately be done!

  12. Thanks so much for your post… living in Vermont we take rain for granted, and rarely think of forest fires… This was def a reminder to count my blessings and be more thankful for the little things! (=

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