It has been a difficult test for him, for me. Thankfully he was not home when an electrical short began to burn all that he had acquired in his almost twenty one years. And thankful too, for the outpouring of love and kindness sent his way by the local folks there in Williamsville. Mathew was the first to arrive at what use to be his home. He could do nothing more than save the dogs and watch it burn.
"It is what it is." His thoughts on watching it, knowing there was nothing he could do but stand there as it slowly unfolded, the fire and flames.
I have tried to put myself in his shoes, have tried to see with his eyes, feel with his heart. I cannot. I can only imagine what it might feel like to lose things one holds dear by no act of your own, but by a natural force. He's been through too much for such a young man, and yet- it is what it is. He shows signs of sadness of course...but also- such courage. Such stand-upedness, take it on the chin and keep standing. I hate with all my heart, these occurrences. I pray his spirit remains intact. I strongly disagree silently- the things that have been said to him, that he relays, that I have read...it breaks my heart and perhaps his too, when people think with their head too much in times like these. When they say-
"God opens a window when he closes a door...."
"God has a plan...."
I do not disagree with the sentiment, but if only one might stand there in his shoes, realize that right now- it just might feel more like a kick in the teeth or lower extremities. See, when you're standing in an elevated place, what purpose does it serve to look down from that safe distance and offer a head shot instead of a heart thought?!
This young man has been baptized by fire all his life- his character rich, his spirit iron clad. But that doesn't make him or anyone else in a position of great vulnerability any more able to perceive the unfolding lessons that may come from disaster. It'll take time for him to come around to faith again, little by little- he'll get there.
God may move in mysterious ways, but in times of great suffering- it truly makes little sense to interpret the signs for one who has been momentarily blindsided. And that's my lesson in all of this. I cannot know the inside workings of someone's heart, the low down demons praying on their last frazzled nerve. I have to learn to acknowledge first the burden before I can offer any kind of pardon.
In ending, Mathew is doing well with the circumstances. He has good friends, a loving family, a job and youth on his side. He's alive. He has still such wonders to discover, some that just may come from the ashes, maybe when the smoke clears his level of empathy, a boundless compassion may arise for others deeply, sincerely from the low down places he has found himself in. And found in himself, a complete and unwavering faith...I do not wish that for him. What a terrific burden, to look at the despair in someone else's sadness, to sink into the depths in order to raise someone back up. Everything within me says please, not that. Just let him be, let him grow- safe and in sunshine. But that's not how it works, is it? Life is so unfair and so fair. What doesn't kill us, kicks us. What doesn't heal us, hurts us. The only thing left standing, left smoldering- is a little flame. My hope for him, for all of us- no matter what life throws at us, it never diminishes our fire. Mathew Martin Earl Fowler amazes me...that little spark within him just keeps glowing and glowing. I don't see how, I don't know why- but it is so.
|Mathew walking through the fog|