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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