Read Part 1 of this story here!

As I said yesterday, with a brief lapse of memory, I had set our family vacation home on fire.

After what seemed like an eternity of just waiting for any word from the firemen inside the house, one stuck his head out the front door, breathing heavily with no mask on.

“Did you get the dog?!”  He replied, “He’s in the back yard,” without saying “everything is ok” or anything like that.

Nancy and I ran around the house, and as we came close to rounding the second corner, Winston jumped out from the other side, missing his collar, tail whipping like it does when he’s really excited.  I don’t know how it looked from an outside observer’s perspective, but it felt like one of those movie scene reunions, full of unbelievable relief, gratitude, and excitement.  We dropped to our knees and hugged him while we cried.

We waited in the front yard with Winston for a solid 20 minutes more, hugging each other and him as the firemen cleared the house of smoke.  Smoke billowed out of every window they opened upstairs and downstairs.

Finally they left, after getting a picture with Winston on the official Beaufort Fire Department camera.  Our gratitude for Beaufort Fire Department, and first responders everywhere, couldn’t be greater after that day.

Now came the time to inform my family, which was something I wasn’t looking forward to.  “Hey Mom, yea the house that we’ve owned as a family for 50 years and never had any trouble with?  I set it on fire.”

I pride myself on being a responsible person.  I enjoy taking responsibility for my own life.  In my family, I’m seen as “the responsible one.”  So I was the last one that I thought would set the Beaufort house on fire.  But now it was time to take responsibility for what happened.

When I called and informed the family, there was nothing but grace upon grace for me, which meant so much.  Obviously everyone wanted to know what happened and how, but the grace and forgiveness they showed was exceedingly kind and meaningful.  It was already crushing for me to know that I had caused all this trouble, and they all understood that grace was the best thing in the situation.

It showed me that we could probably all stand to be a little more gracious and grace-filled towards one another.  We often don’t know what other people are going through, and a little more grace in our dealings with each other could mean a whole lot.  Showing grace before flying off the handle, calling them out, or becoming frustrated could change the game for a lot of our relationships in business and personal life.

And a little grace towards those you perceive as “responsible” goes a really long ways, too.  They feel worse about their shortcomings than you realize.

As far as the house is concerned, there was smoke and soot damage throughout, but we praise God the fire damage was contained to that one room because of its brick walls and concrete floor.  After many weeks of cleanup and restoration work, it’s almost back to normal.  It’s been repainted on the inside, has a few new pieces of furniture, and we’ll all be ready for a great summer.

And you better believe we’re going to enjoy it more than ever this year.

When was a time that someone showed you a lot of grace in a tough situation?