… from the bungalow

This Too Shall Pass: on the art of allowing


Looking back on events, I can almost always find purpose in what I once thought was tragedy. That’s not to say that “everything happens for a reason.” I believe we have more responsibility in, and consequently, more control over life than that. Rather, it’s a feeling that the world meets us where we are. Opportunities and lessons present themselves when we need them to, and sometimes it seems tragic and overwhelming, but it’s exactly the contrast we needed to break a pattern. It may sound like rationalization to some, but I try to think of it as allowing change.

With experience, this hindsight comes earlier and earlier, to the point where it’s no longer hindsight at all, but a way of accepting what is. So it’s no surprise that I’m finding a sense of calm and resolve at the news that, on Monday this week, my parents’ house was struck by lightning, caught on fire, and burned. (The photos in the slideshow are of their house.) See, my folks (who live in southern Indiana) were visiting family here in Michigan for Memorial Day weekend, and they had brought their dogs with them. My mom seems to have a mystery nerve disorder and is in a motorized wheelchair, and had she been home, I don’t know if she would have made it. As it happened, no one was home. Everyone is safe. I’m truly thankful for that.

Photo Source: WDRB News

When I spoke to my mom, I was shocked, but calm. She didn’t need me blubbering on about “Oh my God, what a tragedy, what are you going to do?!” I told her I love her, hung up, and called Karin. That’s when the blubbering came. And then I was done. I called my mom back and asked if she wanted to stay with us and told her we could help her get around. She thought she and my dad could be there for each other, and I agreed it was probably better that way.

So they’re down there and I’m up here and there isn’t much I can do at this point. I can offer my love and support, and I can solicit the same from friends and family. My sister is driving down this weekend to spend some time visiting our mom and packing up salvageable stuff with our dad. I won’t be able to get the time off of work, but I can send a bit of money and lots of love.

Living room: My mom’s curio cabinet was somehow spared.

Maybe it’s because I’m somewhat removed from the situation, but I know good things will come of this. I fully expect to see serendipity and synchronicity in the weeks to follow. If I could give my parents one concept to hold onto right now, it would be simply “allow.”

I will tell my mom to allow herself to feel the feelings she’s having right now; to allow for positive thoughts of opportunity and possibility to take root in her being; to allow the unfolding of events to happen naturally and perfectly, knowing that it’s all taken care of.


Author: Chris

Introspection to a fault. College administrator, parent, soapmaker.

40 thoughts on “This Too Shall Pass: on the art of allowing

  1. Beautifully written, love. xoxo

  2. Thank you, Chris. Very well said! Loved, loved, loved the video!

  3. anything with “this too shall pass” gets my attention. And you got it, you are being loving and not smothering. This awful situation can turn into something good. I’m sure of it. And it sounds like you are too. Which is so great. Sometimes we turn someone else’s tragedy into something about us, when really, we need to let them dictate what they need.

    • Sometimes we turn someone else’s tragedy into something about us…

      So true, Katy. I’m taking a stance of action through non-action. Leading the way by following their lead. KWIM?

  4. Chris, I always love reading your posts and I’ve never commented before, but this one particularly hit me. I love the comment about allowing change…..it really rang true with me.

    It is a huge loss and I’m glad no one was hurt, but seeing that you can see the positive in the situation is encouraging to me knowing that many people in this situation are not willing to go down that route.

    Thanks for what you do.

    • Josh, I’m glad you connected with this. I’m especially glad I decided to toss in that line about allowing change during my revision. 🙂 I appreciate the sentiment of gratitude. Thank you for reading and commenting to let me know.

  5. Chris, you should have been a therapist. Oh, wait, you are!! Thank you for your thoughtful insight, and the video is awesome!

    • I was. 😉 I’m glad my thoughts are helpful, Dad. I can’t be there physically but I need to help you somehow. I knew you guys would love the video!

  6. Thanks for giving that a name in a well written post. Didn’t know what to call that “feeling” you get/have until now. That’s how I reacted when I learned my grandfather had passed (my other grandfather just 6 weeks before him). Calm talking to my parents, blubbering to my wife. Thank you again for putting a name to it!

    • I’m glad you connected with this. I’m sorry to learn about your grandfathers. Unfortunately, I’ve been there, too. I won’t take credit for talking about the art of allowing, though. It’s just become part of my vocabulary from the things I read and listen to. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  7. Wonderfully written/expressed. The art of allowing is not always easy…. your love and encouragement will help see them through.

  8. Very beautifully written, Chris. Your opening paragraph shows just how wise you are.

    That’s not to say that “everything happens for a reason.” I believe we have more responsibility in, and consequently, more control over life than that. Rather, it’s a feeling that the world meets us where we are. Opportunities and lessons present themselves when we need them to, and sometimes it seems tragic and overwhelming, but it’s exactly the contrast we needed to break a pattern. It may sound like rationalization to some, but I try to think of it as allowing change.

    Serendipity is a much nicer way to say coincidence (imho). If I think about either of these terms for too long though, they both begin to carry a scent of “everything happens for a reason” even though ‘accidental’ would belie this. I, like you, can’t just blindly believe that everything happens for a reason but I think we do need to hold onto those ideas every once in awhile. Especially when we are hit with something like a lightning strike (real or metaphorical) over which we don’t have control. What you so aptly point out is that it might be precisely those things that set us in the direction of and allow for change.

    I am very happy that your parents are okay (♥ ♥) and while the fire may not have “happened for a reason” it certainly happened on that day for a reason: they were not meant to be injured. So, says Mother Nature, let’s not have the lightning strike until they’re out of town, okay? What a co-inky-dink.

    ps: The shot of your mom’s curio cabinet made me laugh.

    • Yes, I use the word “serendipity” tongue-in-cheek. I don’t believe in fate, but the word still works for me. There’s a magic to life that is neither scripted nor random.

      • I love this whole thread here (not to mention the post that inspired it). While I don’t believe “everything happens for a reason,” I do believe there’s “a magic to life that is neither scripted nor random.” Magically put, that!

  9. Boy, that is something! So grateful for you and your folks and their dogs that everyone was out of the house. I, too, believe that more will be revealed and that down the road, or maybe even just off the curb, there will be light shining through this tragedy…well…just in these blog comments there already is! My prayers (and this isn’t just a saying for me) are with your mom and dad and all of you. Thanks for sharing, Chris. Much love and hugs! XOXO-SWM

    • Thanks, SWM. It’s good to know that so many good folks are keeping them in their thoughts right now. My mom even said she feels blessed to have so many people praying for them.

  10. God was caring for your mom in this huge loss. Good does come from evil and tragedy. I think they are handling it all amazingly well from the photos that they have posted.

  11. Oh my gosh! Chris, I’m SO glad your parents are okay. And your calm yet powerful words are actually soothing ME right now, so I can only imagine how much your attitude is helping your parents. I hope you’ll keep us posted, and my thoughts are with all of you!

    • Thanks, Jules! More and more bad news for my family, I’m afraid. I’ll be writing soon, I hope.

      • Oh no, Chris! I’m so sorry to hear that. Please let me/us know if there’s anything we can do.

        • Thank you! I try to think about how I can use the blog to help my mom, but I struggle with the “hows” and if it’s even appropriate. I don’t want to turn people off with what might look like solicitation. I’d love to chat with you about ideas for raising some funds, though, if you’re ever interested.

          • Chris, of course! I think the online sites for fundraising are really great and non-intrusive, and I’m MORE than happy to refer people somewhere from my blog. Feel free to contact me anytime (Julie.Davidoski@yahoo.com or Julie Davidoski on FB!)!

  12. “Everyone is safe. I’m truly thankful for that.” The most important words there are.

  13. I love the clarity, calm and peace in this post. I am so glad everyone is safe. As always, thanks for sharing yourself so beautifully.

  14. Hi Chris, my thoughts are with your family right now. When CJ was 18 months old we lost about 3/4 of our roof to a tornado. We were all home, luckily nobody was hurt, and nothing was lost that wasn’t replace-able.

    As far as tragedy and the reasons behind it – there’s no way to tell. Is is God? Is it ‘a plan’? I don’t think so – I think it just is. I believe in Karma and things happen for a reason – we just don’t know what and why.

    My cousin died in a car crash with his girlfriend and best friend when he was 19. I can’t say that good came out of it – but his death brought the family together in a way I cannot describe. All of us came together to remember Tommy (he’ll always be Tommy to me), to hug and love each other and realize that life is too short for arguments.

    Another cousin died when he took his own life at 19. He was in the marines. Some compromising photos of him with another man made their way onto the internet. We are sick about Ryan not trusting us enough to know that we could never turn our backs on him. That we loved him (and still do!). That every time we see a young man with orange-red hair that we see him. Every time we see a marine, we see him. Every time we hear about another young kid being bullied because he’s gay, or she’s transgendered, or he’s a little person, bipolar, homeless, poor, mentally challenged … that no matter what – every time we see someone needing a friend – we help that person – maybe we could have helped Ryan. Maybe we didn’t see the signs. Maybe we didn’t pay attention. Maybe we didn’t show him that he could trust us with all of himself.

    Maybe that’s why I make sure that CJ knows he can talk to me about anything. That he can always come to me. That he will always have someone to confide in. No matter what.

    Tragedies happen – why do they happen? Because, life happens. Sometimes there isn’t a reason – it kills us to admit that, but there isn’t always a lesson at the end of a story. Sometimes a story is just a story. There isn’t always a moral or a lesson. “It is what it is” – sounds cold, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

    “It is what it is.”
    but “WHY” is it?
    maybe that isn’t for us to know. Maybe our brains cannot comprehend reasons for tragedy, or maybe there is no reason. Why do people die? Because death is a part of life. Is 19 too young? Of course we think so. Was it a natural death? No. It was technology. Some will read this and say, “WHOAH she’s saying technology killed her cousins!!!” Uh, no. Technology was the method of death for both of my cousins. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. It isn’t natural. It’s horribly sad, and lends itself to great reflection and mourning.
    Death in itself is sad. My grandfather passed away last year, it was horrible for me. I took it very hard. It wasn’t as hard for CJ, because he didn’t know Grampa the way I did. He didn’t grow up visiting Grampa Rawlings every weekend, laughing at his wild stories of delivery men and such – so of course it didn’t affect him as much.
    CJ said so, too. “Mom, I know you miss “Grampaw,” but I hope it’s okay that I’m not as sad as you, because I really didn’t know him very well. But I know that you’re really sad because you grew up with him.”
    I love that kid.

    Okay this is one of my longer replies…
    All the best to you and your family.

    • Your CJ is so sweet. You’re a good mama, Emma.

      My family has also suffered loss through suicide. Also to kidney failure and cancer. Lots of cancer, unfortunately. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comments.

  15. Hi Chris, I’m so glad your parents are safe. My house burned down almost two years ago. The cause was arson. We were home, in bed and escaped with the clothes on our backs. We lost all our possessions.

    As I watched my house burn I was relieved to notice the absence of pain. I have already been through some hard times. I thought it was about the things, and I knew I could bear to lose everything if my husband and children were safe. In the early days, I told people “We’ve been through worse.” I had no idea it was only the beginning.

    The shock of my life has been how incredibly hard it was to rebuild. From a practical standpoint I highly recommend hiring a public adjuster. We are in Michigan too and used CPR Claims. I know they travel into Indiana. I can’t recommend them enough. The insurance process is exhausting. A public adjuster helps take the stress and are there if the insurance adjuster tries any reindeer games.

    If you treat your parents with the gentleness and care you would people who are getting hit on the head with a shovel several times a day for a year, you will be on the right track.

    I wish your entire family the best.

    • Good to know, Alison. I’ll pass along your advice about a public adjuster; although, they’ve been happy with the level of service so far from their insurance company. Thanks for your comments.

  16. I also have a son with special needs, and it’s been fantastic to find this blog. You have a very gentle, yet, resilient spirit. All the best to your family.

  17. What a great attitude you have–I am sure that even with this tragic and devastating event in their lives, your parents are overwhelmed with pride over what a great job they did as parents. I wish them and you all the best.

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