Devastating forest fires are consuming the town of Fort McMurray, AB. News reports indicate an alarming amount of homes lost — up to 90% of homes are lost in some parts of town. Residents are scrambling to evacuate their homes, and many have been placed in work camps north of the city. This fire shows no signs of slowing, but thankfully no loss of life has been reported.
I have a friend in one of the evacuation work camps, who is seeing first hand frightened families arriving by bus in search of refuge. Food has been rationed, as transport to safety is slow and dangerous. Parents, children, and pets completely displaced from the life they knew face severe hardship in the days to come. After the fire has run it’s course, the residence of Fort McMurray will be left to pick up the pieces of their broken homes and city.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this horrific event. It is a 12 hour drive from my BC hometown to Fort McMurray, and I can’t help but cry for my neighbours. It’s near impossible for me to think “how would I be feeling if this were happening to me?” I imagine I would feel shock, fear, anxiety, anger, and great sadness. I can only imagine how these people are actually feeling, as I have never experienced something like this in my life time. There are three things I really take note of in the light of a tragedy: Perspective, Perseverance, and Generosity.
Tragic events such as this can really put life into perspective. The troubles of our everyday lives seem so insignificant when compared to natural or unnatural disasters. We all have struggles in life, and I am not making light of them. As a matter of fact, quite the contrary. Disasterous events force us to look outside our daily lives and take notice. We can empathize with complete strangers, and in turn, put our own problems into perspective. This shift in view enables us to be more grateful for the blessings we have in life. In doing so, our problems become less prominent.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
I am constantly amazed by people’s perseverance. If you look around you, I bet you can find someone (maybe yourself) who has faced adversity and persevered. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans, yet residents continue to rebuild their community. Hardship changes us; we may come out battered and bruised, but we must keep going.
Generosity is a beautiful thing. I checked my Facebook page today, and saw a post from a local family who was gathering donations to bring to the Fort McMurray evacuees. They had filled the back of their van with water, gas cans, food, blankets, clothing, and other essentials. Our local groceries stores were inviting people to donate their “grocery points” which would be used to purchase food for the evacuation camps. People from across the country are gathering items and money to be donated to this cause. Everyone wants to do their part to help out our friends in need. The goodness of people shines through today, and this fills my heart with pride and joy.
Every day people are suffering for different reasons: violence, physical and mental illnesses, disasters, bullying etc. Unfortunately, this is part of life. The beauty in life comes from our ability to help one another to get up, brush the dirt from our clothes, and keep on moving forward.
The link below provides a list of ways you can donate to the victims of Fort McMurray.