Faith amid the fire

October 30, 2007 at 5:01 am | Posted in Faith | 2 Comments
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One of the most moving accounts I heard about last week’s devastating California wildfires was the experience of Mark Pozorski, a 52-year-old Malibu resident. His story was aired October 25 on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.”

After wildfires in the 1990s burned Pozorski’s original Canyon home to the ground, he rebuilt it and bought an assortment of professional firefighting equipment. Last week he described his thoughts as he prepared to evacuate his home, not knowing if it would escape destruction. “You say what should I take . . . you go around the house and you start picking up stuff that defines you. And I would decide between one thing or another and leave something behind.”

“But it was very interesting,” Pozorski continued. “When I was running out the door and I was closing the door and every time thinking it was the last time I was going to close the door, I left my father’s cane on the front door. And when I came back to the house later, I realized that I had left stuff in every room to protect my house if I couldn’t do it. So I think it worked. I really do.”

I’m pretty sure I heard Pozorski’s voice tremble a little at the end of his interview. I got choked up too. I was imagining this man rushing crazily through his house, grabbing the items that meant the most to him and leaving behind unmanned hoses and fire extinguishers and flame retardants to stave off the flames.

It was Pozorski’s last effort to ensure the safety of his home — hanging his father’s walking cane on the front door — that touched me most deeply. Although I’ll never know Pozorski’s motivation or whether his dad’s still alive, I saw his act as one of supreme faith that this inanimate object held more safekeeping capacity than all his expensive firefighting equipment. The cane was embued with the ultimate protective power of Pozorski’s father. What a wonderful relational connectivity these two men must have shared.

By the way, Pozorski’s Malibu house still stands.



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  1. I just discovered this article about that flame-surrounded day in October of 2007. It moved me to be recognized for my faith, and belief in a higher place. I remember staying awake for three days, watching the flames get closer. No power, no phones, no cell reception. The flames came within 100 feet of my home, when finally the air support covered them and me with that liquid pink stuff. It felt wonderful. It was 5:30 AM.

    And yes, my father died much earlier in my life, 4 days after my 18th birthday, the year I became a man. The cane on my door was a gift from my mother to her only son. I cherish it still.

    • Mark, you commented on my post about 18 months ago, and I just became aware of it. Thanks for taking the time to write and give me a bit of your inside story. My Authentic Life Consulting blog has been inactive for a while now . . . but I’m posting on a new blog, This Authentic Life, 3-4 times a month. Here’s a link, in case you’d like to follow it –

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