Saturday, July 16, 2011

(unexpected) Radical Simplicity: Losing Everything in a Fire

     Yesterday I had a conversation with my cousin Devin along the lines of life transitions and living in simplicity. i had just moved into the house on Fairmount street in Garfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh this past Wednesday, and despite my efforts of downsizing before i moved i had a lot more stuff than i had planned. I had been trying to step into some intentional spiritual disciplines one of which is a ever processing radical life simplicity. the fact was I had way more than i wanted and definitely more than i basically needed, but being an artist and a musician lends itself to acquiring a mass of supplies and instruments required for the fields. but i was determined to simplify all the more, feeling convicted that simplicity was a high goal of discipline to strive after. our conversation concluded shortly as we chatted on to other things
     It wasn't 15 minute later that i received the call that our house was on fire and we raced back as fast as we could. I prayed it was just something small and easily fixable, but as we came into the neighborhood i could see the pillar of smoke rising from behind the trees on the hill where we resided. we parked the car and preceded up the hill. 3 fire trucks, dozens of cops, 2 helicopters circling and teams of medics on the site didn't ease the surroundings. as the fire blazed upwards consuming everything on the 3rd floor and I knew I had most likely lost everything. i had just stored everything i owned in that room, with the exception of a weekend pack to Kansas City, which i was catching a plane that night. I guess life transition and radical life simplicity came crashing down harder and sooner than i had thought.
     I am surely counting my blessings; all six of us who lived there were alright, Colin, Carina, Morgan, Chris, Kyle and I. Morgan, who was at the house at the time of the fire, managed to get the 2 dogs out of the house off the second floor. The house was uninsured at the time and Colin was working his last day of work to take some time to work full time on the house. Colin had bought the house with his good friend Justin over a year ago after it had gone into to bank ownership by foreclosure. Justin got married this year and had sold his portion and moved out earlier this year. It needed a lot of work and over the coarse of the year had the roof patched, water pipes fixed, and a wood stove installed. thousands of dollars had been spent on building supplies and countless hours of labor all gone in a matter of minutes.
      we had all just started to shape and order our lives together as a house, establishing common chores, work days and weekly meals, making steps to intentionality and residential community living. we have a heart for hospitality to friends and strangers, simple and sustainable living, combating poverty locally and globally by imaginative peaceful means of action and involvement; we were just starting to collect these goals and put them together on top of already practicing these steps in small everyday ways. we were getting really excited and hopeful about the steps in the house project, and then came this wrench in the works, but we've got no plans to stop here; we're discerning what the next step is currently. I believe that God takes care of the sparrows and the lilies of the field and how much more does he care of His children. I've got faith that it'll work out for good, if we're open to the renewal to come. i guess it kind of my moto: sometimes things need ruined for a renewal to start in our lives. Lord have mercy as we step into this new chapter.
     We've been so blessed already, with so many friends and family jumping in with offers and supplying some basic, immediate needs, but the larger needs will be in the near future as we figure out what is next. to rebuild or relocate? how much is too much to invest? goals and vision for the future? and whatever else might be on the table. Colin has started a blog to keep all updated on the status of the 6 of us, volunteer opportunities, and the future of our experiment in community living. check it out at . if you'd like to make a donation to our cause,visit my donations page on the top banner, and all funds will go to our basic and longer term needs. there's a whole lot more work to be done and we are so thankful for all the care, prayer, and support we've already received. In the midst of severe trial, we are truly blessed by all of you. thanks for taking time to read, pray, and support. much Love!

(here's a video of the fire)