If I have an image of what the fires of hell look like, it would be this. In my case, this was the view outside my window in the middle of the night, forever to be etched in my mind.
The mighty forces of fire and wind, coupled with dry brush and high temperatures showed their damaging power over about 600 acres of land adjacent to us when it was all said and done.
Once again we were told to evacuate. Once again the wind shifted, and thanks be to God and the hard working firefighters and law enforcement we were safe, as were all other homes threatened that night.
Good things are coming out of the recent fire scares. We found we have caring neighbors who check up on one another. We are talking of a neighborhood plan, discussing possible alternate evacuation routes if the main road is blocked, and learning about proper defensible area around our homes.
Suffering, in the form of trials, tragedies, disasters and all kinds of evil here on earth can indeed be cleansing and life affirming in ways we could not imagine if we choose to respond, live and learn in a Christ-like manner. They are also a stark reminder of the real, eternal suffering we do not want to endure in Hell, or even temporarily in Purgatory, and to keep following Christ daily and asking for his forgiveness when we fail.