If you follow my facebook page at all (and if you don't then please take two seconds to click here - I promise to only post once or twice a day at the most!) then you would know that we have been in the front line of a huge bushfire. In Australia bushfires are fairly common occurrences but this one was a doozy!
It's strange how detached we are from the reality of other people's lives. Here I was, while other people's properties were possibly burning, snapping a picture. A couple of hours later I was sitting in the hairdresser's when reality started to kick in - the radio was on, and every 10 minutes there was the emergency warning siren (whoooop whoooop) and the fire alert warnings for towns only 20 minutes away from us to evacuate immediately. It was getting bigger than Ben Hur and I was sitting there being primped - it was just so weird. I felt a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burned (two Roman references in one paragraph - that's weird too!)
While writing this the fire is still burning and has a status of "contained but not controlled" - it is dependent upon the weather and the fire crews and God's grace. Calamity and catastrophe are often only a short drive away. Sometimes we know it and sometimes we don't - we have friends who have been evacuated from their homes, local people with families staying with them because they've had to abandon their properties with almost no notice as a huge fire front descended on them. It's times like this that I realize we are often only a heartbeat away from disaster and it makes me stop to think about what is really important.
What I do know is that there is nothing materially that I would be devastated to lose. We aren't particularly attached to our stuff, so if we had to leave we'd take some documents, as many family keepsakes and photos as possible, our laptops and our cats (and some clothes!) and that's about it. At least it makes leaving (if we had to) a little easier when there isn't much that is screaming to be saved.
Have you ever thought about what you value enough to haul out to your car with 15 minutes warning before an inferno descends on you? It's an interesting concept - how attached are we to our possessions, and do we own them or do they own us?