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I'm cheering for my neighbors who have stepped up to honor those sifting through singed rubble

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Holly McLaneI'll never forget the look on the electrician's face as he pulled the charred wire out of our wall. He said we were lucky.

The exploratory demolition all started because the faucet was zapping our kids in the old cast iron tub. We now know why it was happening and who was to blame; the dead mouse left its mark on the wire casing that hugged the now-blackened support stud that housed the cold-water-pipe that was sending hot electricity right through my children. Things could have gone very wrong in so many different ways. And I've never forgotten.

So, when I hear about another family's home swallowed by wildfire, or worse, another brave and steady-hearted hero's life snuffed out by the double-minded inferno gone mad, my breath catches. And I remember again how close I came to either, or both, of those unfair and unforeseen realities.

And then, I watch the social media newsfeeds light up with calls-to-action, as the collection sites hum with drop-off activity and the bank accounts earmarked for specific families start filling up, and, does anybody make pom-poms big enough for this groundswell of support!?

Acts of kindness start spreading across the desolate landscape, carrying forth one of the most important messages of the Gospel; your ruin deserves a rescue!

Our community is donating giant loads of hay, trucks are packed-tight with household items. The 1017 Project is sending 2,000 pounds of fresh hamburger to six different relief organizations each month, and I'm cheering for my neighbors who have stepped up to honor those sifting through singed rubble!

In the hazy aftermath of this scorched-earth-scenario-that-is-anything-but-a-drill, the difference is evident between the haves and the have-nots; some have homes, some clearly, do not. Any pre-existing judgements evaporate, and not every kid is getting a trophy after this game. Our differences are as glaring as a lone chimney standing in a pile of ashes.

But we show up, make eye contact, stand in the gap between oppression and a fresh start, pressing hope into open palms and offering up the gifts God has given us, at that moment, to make someone else's situation better.

And the eager givers keep coming, and the overwhelmed receivers accept, as both parties are blessed into humility. No one's feelings are hurt as they carry out their assigned roles in this particular tragedy. Because charity is the only fire hot enough to burn down a living hell, and "the givers" know that they could be just one short circuit, one difficult diagnosis, or one more wildfire away from being "the receivers."


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