Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Into prayer mode

I am utterly devastated on behalf of longtime friends James & Jen Mains, who suffered a tremendous loss Monday.

From Jen’s Facebook page:

On behalf of our Mains crew, I wanted to Thank everyone for their prayers, support, kind words and generosity. For those who may not have heard, our home caught fire this evening and is all but completely lost. We believe an electric fire started in the basement and spread rapidly through the entire house. It took just minutes for the whole basement and main level to be engulfed in flames.

We will know more tomorrow at the extent of the structural damage and determine what we will do going forward.

Many will say it was just temporal, material things - and true as it is... for those who have grown up in the 'home on Tanners', we all know that house was so much more than just a house - generations of memories were made there. Being passed down through the family, we have had innumerable cherished times at the lake.

With the fire spreading so quickly, I am deeply thankful Jimmy, the kids and dogs all made it out safely.... And to Kevin, the fireman who went back into the house to retrieve Dad's Bible with his reading glasses and the letter that Grandma Cele wrote to him while he was preaching - which was on my nightstand and returned it to me safely... to him, I am eternally grateful.

Leave it to Jen to give everyone perspective in light of some pretty dire circumstances. Unfortunately, she’s had plenty of practice on how to endure emotional pain and sorrow.

A little more than three years ago, Jen’s father Frank Sanders (someone whom I loved, respected and admired) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Over the next thirteen months, Jen faithfully updated a CaringBridge page as a service to keep family and friends in the loop regarding her dad’s struggle. In addition to the emotional toll of witnessing her dad’s deteriorating illness, she would still take the time to recount a given day’s events, which likely exacerbated her sadness. Nevertheless, she selflessly kept her commitment to those who depended upon her updates, right up until Frank’s passing in February 2012.

As Jen alluded to in her update, their home was one where “generations of memories” were made. Her paternal grandparents lived there for some time before selling it to their daughter and son-in law. After that, Jen’s parents Frank and Kathy purchased that house where they lived for many years, raising three kids. Within the past decade, the Mains family bought it. Personally, I have many fond memories of my teenage years at that homestead. I spent a handful of winter days ice-skating on Tanners’ Lake as well summer evenings swimming and/or fishing in that very same area. From what I’ve been able to gather, that tradition continued over the next few decades. It heartens me to know that a generation beyond mine was able to experience the blessed hospitality in that home on the lake.

Given the response to this calamitous incident, it’s quite clear James and Jen (along with their four teenaged children) are not lacking in loved ones rallying around them to assist in their recovery. Despite the fact I’ve only seen the family a handful of times over the past 20 years, they’ll never be far from my heart. I will continue to pray the Mains family feels peace and comfort that will transcend all understanding.

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