I just can't stop thinking about the devastation in one of the most beautiful places in Arizona just because someone ignored the rules -- a simple rule -- NO burn -- and visitors just couldn't listen and made a fire anyway. Now over 200,000 acres, thousands of families, countless wildlife including newborn calves are devastated. I just can't sleep -- wanting to help but not sure how.
I am sure that the Red Cross is sick of me now but I just can't sit an wait. "Well, we need towels" one woman said. So I round up towels. Anything else? "Well, you can sign in on our list to house families." But I am too far down on the list so no one has called. So, I go into Red Cross again. Anything I can do? Food? Blankets? "No...just hang tight. Is it okay if we call you anytime? If so, we'll call you when we need more help." So I just sit and wait and wait and wait and wait and keep busy. Burst out into tears a little. Then keep busy some more. The only thing that gives me solace is prayer. When you can do no more the best thing to do it pray. So, I ask everyone around me to pray. Pray for the wind to die down. Pray for miraculous rain. Pray to keep over 3,000 fireman safe. Pray for the families that have lost their homes, their source of income, their animals.
So, I keep praying. Then as I pray and mediate a thought of strict obedience comes to my mind. We are supposed to cultivate and take care of the land. Simple as it seems, yet we forget. Just a simple mistake from hikers -- probably kind and ordinary people who meant no harm -- yet this simple mistake will bring deep rooted scar for decades. Will the land ever be the same?
This makes me think about obedience to all of God's Commandment but too often we forget the more important commandment -- LOVE. Some may think -- oh, I only need or have time to be nice to the good looking, talented, well-educated neighbor. They are easy to love, easy to like. Yet at the same time this individual may choose to ignore the neighbor that really needs loving and constant (maybe even painstaking) nourishing and because they are too busy or too thoughtless devastation erupts. Then just like the fire, it takes decades to heal the scar and multitudes of people to squelch the harm of the mindless one that did not take the time to care.
This year, while teaching gospel doctrine I realized that each gospel principle, each commandment continually points back to love of others and love of our Heavenly Father and His Son. Doesn't matter the topic, whether it be the story of Eli the Prophet or the parable of the Talents or raising Lazarus from the dead, each points to LOVE.
This Wallow Fire is also teaching me love -- love for the land, love for the people, love for rain, love of prayer. Let's us continue to pray and hope that through simple obedience peace will come from the most devastating of circumstances.