TEXAS FIRE VICTIMS: "WE LOST OUR HOUSE, NOT OUR HOME!"
New York - When the fires started in Smithville,TX, Dominica McGinnis told her four girls to pack an overnight bag and the family evacuated their home. The next time they came back, the house the family had lived in for eight years would be destroyed together with all their possessions.
The family of six fled their home with an overnight bag of clothes, their dog, a photo album and a few icons. Nine days later, the authorities let the family come back to see the damage. Instead of their house, they saw a tangled mass of iron that used to be the roof and the chimney.
Dominica said she “was at peace with it.” She says that even before she left her house forever, she knew that whether or not the house survived was “not her decision” – it was up to God.
“The kids had a more difficult time, because eventually they started to think about some of the things they wished they had grabbed – physical items of happy memories – a handmade doll or icon from their baptism. It was less about the material item; it was more about the memories.”
The family are active parishioners at the Holy Protection Church in Austin, TX.
“The four girls are the pride and joy of our parish, and excellent role models for the other children in the parish,” wrote Hieromonk Aidan (Keller), rector of the parish, in an e-mail. “These girls are attentive, kind, pious and, in a word, exemplary, assisting in the choir and in reading of the Hours. All of this is a testament to the faith and dedication of their mother!”
The small parish has come together to help the McGinnis family, donating clothes and homeschooling supplies – Dominica teaches her girls at home. They are staying in a small cabin on a friend’s property. But the family’s needs are beyond the parish’s limited means. The McGinnisses have no plates or silverware, no furniture or an extra pair of shoes or an umbrella.
Despite this calamity, the family’s attitude is exemplary to all.
“We’ve been so blessed,” McGinnis said.
“Forcibly becoming unattached to a physical thing, I realized we didn’t lose our home, we lost our house. Home is where we are.”
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