“Building Again,” Friend, April 2020
“What are you making?” Jonas asked.
“I don’t know,” Sam told his little brother. “I’m just making it up as I go along.” They were at the learning center, waiting for their parents to pick them up. Sam had found a box of scrap wood by the craft table. He was busy gluing pieces of wood together.
“OK.” Jonas shrugged and walked away. Sam watched him join some kids at the game table. Then he went back to digging through the box of wood.
Sam found a purple block he liked. He carefully squeezed a line of glue along its side and pressed it against the blocks he’d already glued together.
He really liked his wood creation so far. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he didn’t really care about that. It just felt good to do something with his hands after the craziness of last week.
A week ago, a fire started burning in Sam’s town. His family had to leave their house in a hurry. Sam could still remember the white ash falling in the air like snow. There were even flames on the side of the road as they drove to safety. It was terrifying!
Sam’s family was OK, but their house was gone. It had burned in the fire along with most of the town.
It doesn’t feel real! Sam thought to himself. He kept thinking his family was just on a weird vacation and they’d be going home soon. But he knew that wasn’t true. They were staying with friends until they could find a new place to live.
Today Mom had brought Sam and his siblings to the learning center. It was a place for kids who lost their homes in the fire. Sam’s favorite was the craft table.
At the bottom of the wood box, Sam found a triangle-shaped block he hadn’t noticed before. That gave him a great idea!
When Mom came back to the learning center, Sam was excited to show her what he had made.
“It’s a temple!” Sam said. He handed it to Mom.
“I love it,” Mom said. “It reminds me of the wooden temple I used to have.”
Thinking about Mom’s wooden temple made Sam’s stomach drop. They had wanted to save it from the fire, but it had been left behind.
“I wanted to put it by your temple on our bookcase,” Sam said. “But … your wooden temple is gone. And so is the bookcase.”
“How about we make this the first decoration in our new house?” Mom said. “The temple is a place of peace. It can remind us that no matter what happens, we’ll be OK.”
Imagining his wooden temple on a new bookshelf helped Sam feel a bit better.
“I like that,” he said.
That night, Sam put his temple on the kitchen table in the house where they were staying. The kitchen was filled with his family’s bags of emergency supplies, but seeing the temple there made the room look happier.
A couple of days later, Dad and Mom called a family meeting. “Someone donated a camper trailer we can live in,” Dad said. “We’re really blessed to have a place to stay.”
Sam helped his family pack their things in the car. He put his wooden temple on one of the seats so it would be safe during the bumpy ride.
“You OK?” Mom asked. She handed him a box to load into the trunk.
“Yes,” Sam said. He didn’t want to move again, but he remembered what Mom had said about the temple. “No matter what happens, we’ll be OK.”