Many events happen by chance, and events differing in importance; (now) if they turn out ill they crush and maim happiness; for they both bring pain with them and hinder many activities. Yet even in these nobility shines through, when a man bears with resignation many great misfortunes, not through insensibility to pain but through nobility and greatness of soul.
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

I do not know all the details. In a sense, they don’t matter. My friends’ hand-grown, hand-crafted livelihood has burnt to the ground: half-finished works of art, business records, tools, precious reclaimed materials by the ton, … Good gracious, that wood!

What if a man’s dreams go up in those flames too? Fire can destroy more than just a business.

But then again, it can refine, and show things for what they really are, by bringing out their deeper reality. This fire, I firmly believe, will do just that for many people. Indeed, it already has.

But why did this happen, how could this happen, to these people? This age-old question will be asked again. And it should be.

Some will be sore tempted to give the negative answer. Understandably.

But the nay-sayers will be wrong. They always are. Including the nay-sayer in each of us.

Even Aristotle, who had no clear notion of a divine providence, could see the deeper power of calamity. In a way that was heretofore not possible, the people of Strong Oaks Woodshop can now discover who they are. Greater courage, deeper community, richer friendships can grow and blossom, from the ashes.

In saying these things, am I closing my eyes to reality? Am I inviting my friends to do so? I think not. This is a matter of truth. Sometimes we only see things clearly when we are looking through tears. Experience has shown this in the past; and it will show it again.

~ ~ ~

If you are inclined and in a position to offer financial assistance to the people of Strong Oaks, here is their Go Fund Me site.

Here is a newspaper report of the fire.

Note: next week I will continue our BIRD posts…


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