What Fire Refines
(“God has a beautiful way of bringing good vibrations out of broken chords.” Charles Swindoll)
Fire, you stole practically everything
that we left behind,
yet you took nothing
which loss can only refine.
Whoever knew the value
of a reeking buck goat, smelly, but alive,
until I hear about a friend’s sheep, barbequed,
or wonder if a burnt horse would have been better off if she hadn’t survived.
To hold a baby goat in these arms
and let him nurse and nibble at my chin,
knowing full well that on some blackened farm
a newborn fawn, too weak to run, now rests – a skeleton.
Clear, clean skies with lamb’s-fleece clouds,
air smelling of cattle, cottonwoods, angel food cake,
rather than the scarlet sunlight hanging as a shroud
and ash choking my lungs with every running breath I take.
The whish of wind in the pine trees,
dusty-brown cowbirds trilling, neighbors shouting.
Instead of the smokehouse stench causing all sound to cease;
silent trees forbid us whisper a single thing.
A shower, a sink, a space to sleep;
an RV trailer, a two-room tent.
A two-story house stands two-feet deep;
books – ash heaps; piano –a metal frame the only hint.
Papa’s arm around my sobbing shoulders and our hearts;
hand-in-hand we walk our broken acreage together.
The twine that held goat panels up was burnt apart;
the “time-out corner” where we used to chat is gone forever.
God’s Word in my hands; Psalms which give me strength,
Crockpot meals from faithful friends feed our grateful tears
while our whole land is empty – no life in all its length;
parched by fire, watered by tears.
Dahl Fire exerted all its might
to destroy the life I know.
Feed troughs and flannels could not fight —
Against mere things, fire runs the show.
But not against our faith in Christ,
or the treasures He chose to spare –
mom’s kisses, goat kid in the manger – the little fiest,
a bareback ride on my golden Arabian mare.
Fire, you took so much;
some folks might call me poor.
But thanks to you and your refining touch,
I’m richer than before.