Wow. That's all I can think of to describe yesterday. A very newsy day, for sure.
Shortly after I got to work yesterday morning, the news hit that there had been a school shooting in Chardon, Ohio (near Cleveland). My heart sank as I listened to stories of kids texting their moms and dads (I'm really not sure what I would do if I received a text about that) and the pandemonium that ensued thereafter. What a scary time, for everyone.
Last evening, as Jim and I headed to evening mass, I heard a siren heading through town. We hear them often, living where we do, so oftentimes I find myself saying a quick prayer and moving on. For some reason, I was tempted to go "the other way" to mass and see where the siren was going (unlike me, but I had that urge). However, instead, I took the "normal" route. If only I had known, we could have looked to our left as we drove down the street and seen one of the biggest fires that New Bremen has ever seen. The Fireside Pub was on fire, where eventually flames would be shooting out the top of the building perhaps 10 or 15 feet above the building. A huge fire, that's for sure.
I'm in awe of our rescue personnel all over. People risked their lives to go into that school and lock it down and get the gunman under control, not knowing if there were others involved. Yet, as their profession, they did it. Awesome. Totally not a job I could ever do, so I am very impressed with the work that they do.
Later, hundreds of firefighters braved the night and fought the fire at the Fireside. Units were called in from all over the area to come and help. If you are not familiar with our area, I will tell you that most of these firefighters are volunteers. Meaning, they went to work all day yesterday, were with their families until the call came, and then went out to risk their lives to save the lives of people in our community. Although I live a block and half away from the fire, without their hard work, that fire could have come my way and put my family in danger. They were up most of the night fighting (I really don't know what time most of the units left -- I know when I went to bed around 1 am, there were still lots of trucks out there). This morning, some of them remained -- to watch for hot spots, to monitor the scene, to keep on protecting.
And yet, through both of these events, one thought keeps creeping in. Timing. Although both events are horrible, and I am saddened by the loss of life from the Chardon Schools, I keep hearing stories from students saying things like, "I should have been in that library, but I was working on my French project." Or from another, "If this had happened tomorrow, I would have been in one of the seats that he aimed at."
I look at the Fireside Pub fire and realize really how lucky we are. One day a week it is closed. Mondays. Imagine what could have been if that fire had taken place a day earlier, when the restaurant was jam-packed with customers and workers. Que's, the barbershop in the same building, holds traditional "haircutters hours", being closed Sundays and Mondays. No one was in there, either!
Although we've lost a beautiful historic site in our community (I hope they will either be able to keep the shell and fix up the inside, or recreate the building), I thank God that he was looking out for everyone last night and kept everyone safe. We can replace a building, and "things", but not a life.
We offer up our continued prayers to all those involved yesterday. May the good Lord continue to lift everyone up.