650 Parliament Fire: Learning to Look Beyond Ourselves

A week away with my family at a cottage meant that I was absolutely disconnected from the world. No WiFi, no signal. I assumed I'd have a missed call or an unanswered text here or there but as the GO train pulled into the city, I watched my notifications blink and blink and blink. 

"Are you okay?" "Heard about the fire, are you affected?" These were the common texts I received. Once I was home, I began searching frantically online to find out that there had been a fire at one of the neighbouring buildings in St. James Town and the entire apartment had been evacuated.

My coworkers who had worked tirelessly to journey with our families who lived at 650, caught me up on all that was happening and as the dust began to settle, I had the chance to spend some time with one of our teen girls whose family was affected by the fire. 

Sitting across from me while nibbling on potato wedges and slurping an Iced Capp (of which she'd had many since not having a kitchen), she told me about the entire ordeal and the realities of being away from home just as school was starting up in a few days. But as I kept probing to see how she was coping, I was met with these replies:

"I really feel bad for families with small children."

"There are handicapped people who can't get home."

I was floored. Here I was sitting across a young woman who, rightfully, could spend our time in conversation complaining about this awful thing that had happened to her and her family. Instead, she chose to think about others and show compassion for her neighbours. In that moment, as I was trying to care for her and "be Christ" to her, she was instead exemplifying to me the vast generosity and selfless love that Jesus has for us. Though a difficult situation, it gave opportunity to reveal a beautiful heart in this teen and I am so grateful to have witnessed it.