One of my favorite mantras is: Life is always working out for me. Boy, did it help to remember and reassure myself of that this past week.
As many of you already know, our sweet little cabin at Echo Lakes near Tahoe has been under siege from the Caldor Fire for the past 10 days. Built in 1924 by my husband’s grandfather and great-grandfather, Silver Firs cabin holds 98 years of family memories over five generations. We were thankfully able to move out most of our belongings and sentimental items before the mandatory evacuation orders were issued. Kind friends allowed us to stay at their cabin in South Lake Tahoe during that time which was a Godsend. Add a bear break-in to the cabin during the evacuation warning period to that effort and you can imagine the tension and stress from the past 10 days.
On Monday, the mandatory evacuation was expanded to all of South Lake Tahoe, and we were once again on the move. As we quickly moved our belongings to yet another self-storage near Reno and prepared to fully evacuate the area, our cabin neighbors invited us to stay at their home just over the state line in Nevada. After watching this video on Monday evening, we mentally said goodbye to the cabin in our hearts and cried ourselves to sleep… almost.
As I lay there, lost in my own thoughts and memories, I decided that I didn’t want to stop the grief I was feeling, but I also didn’t want it to own me. I made the conscious decision to allow it to flow through me but not to allow it to get stuck within me. And it did flow. It flowed and flowed and flowed. But after a time, it finally subsided. As it did, I felt an immense sense of calm and peace wash over me. As I came back to center, I remembered that I always have a choice. I can resist and struggle against “what is,” or I can allow myself to rest in the knowledge that “life is always working out for me,” and God is with me and for me, always. It’s during a crisis that remembering this is so important.
I thought about the fact that the cabin was built by, and for, the love of family, friends, summertime, outdoor adventures, and self-reflection. In 1924, two men constructed a cabin with their own hands in a place which, at the time, had only a small number of trees after being clear-cut for lumber at the turn of the century. They launched a 100-year tradition from nothing. If they could do it in 1924, the Belt family could do it again in 2024. The love and memories weren’t really in the wallboards anyway, they were in our hearts and in the stories told every year around the fireplace roasting s’mores, on every morning hike, or with evening cocktails on the porch. No fire could destroy that.
The next morning, we awoke with a dogged determination to head home and begin the process of figuring out how we might rebuild when we were greeted by this shocking video.
By nothing short of a miracle and the heroic efforts of dedicated firemen, Silver Firs cabin was still standing in the light of Tuesday morning. It was unexpected news, and our tears were liquid joy.
I do not believe that my thoughts and intention on Monday night as I drifted off to sleep were what saved Silver Firs, but I do believe that this has served as a necessary reminder that a commitment to being responsible with my thoughts is what creates my reality at all times. It’s up to me to be a good steward of my thoughts, the emotions that they support, and the reality they create. No one else will or should do that for me.
As we drive back now to our home in southern California, we know that Silver Firs is still not out of the woods yet. Spot fires and high winds still pose a real threat, but with every day we feel stronger and more capable of not only surviving but thriving in whatever environment the future holds for us because we’ll be creating that environment ourselves.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out this last week via social media, texts, calls, and emails. With all that we had going on, we could not answer all your messages but just know that it meant so much to both Tom and me. We are safe and filled with gratitude and optimism for the future as well as an unwavering intention to keep creating our very best life.
Life is always working out for me.
~Katherine Eitel Belt