If you’ve been watching the news this week, you will have heard about the devastating forest fires that have been raging around Fort McMurray, Canada. The whole town has been evacuated, and a fifth of the homes have been destroyed. Entire livelihoods have been wrecked, with tens of thousands of people rendered homeless.
John MacIsaac is one such person. He and his family barely escaped the blaze ripping through his community, having to drive through Fort McMurray’s narrow roads as burning cinders fell all around them. They got out, but everything they had was destroyed. Except one another.
It’s funny because as I stare in the dark I keep telling myself that the words running through my head aren’t true. The words “it’s all gone” won’t pass. But I keep reminding myself of what I know to be true more than ever. I have everything in this room with me. When I was leaving our home I looked all around and tried to decide what was important enough to take and the answer was nothing. Nothing mattered except my family. It still doesn’t. And I feel so grateful because when I tried to leave town south bound I was delegates [SIC] from my wife and my daughter Olivia, and I had my daughter Emma with me. I got to a pint [SIC] where I couldn’t go further and the highway was covered in flames and I didn’t think we would make it out. I looked at my angel and I have never felt such a fear. Such dread thinking I wouldn’t be able to save what I hold dear. That’s what I can’t shake. What I can’t let go. And while I trembled and shook; my little girl in all her innocence smiled at me and was laughing and wanted to play.
I’m not writing this for help or for sympathy. I have what I need and we will be just fine. I’m writing this for two reasons. One because I need to let some of this out of my head, and two because I hope it will make everyone squeeze your kids a little tighter this week. Read them and [SIC] extra bed time story. Give them and ice cream and watch them smile. Call your sister you are angry at and make up, or your brother you haven’t had time to chat with in a while and say hi. Tell your loved ones they are loved and make time for a family dinner. Everything else is bullshit. It does not matter.”
This is a timely reminder of what’s truly important in life.