Last week I learned that my uncle’s store in India was completely ravaged by a fire. Luckily no one was hurt but three families rely on this store as a source of income. My mom told me the news and we were all very shaken emotionally. This is also because this store has been in my mom’s family for 60 years. Her brothers started it when they came to India from Pakistan as refugees during the partition of the country. They were teenagers who had to work to support the family since their father had a chronic illness. The store became quite successful and three of the four brothers expanded into other businesses. Now my one uncle owns the store with his two sons. It has become quite impressive and is a landmark of the area.
With all this history for our family, everyone was quite devastated. Though we were completely grateful that the family was safe. We were feeling a sympathetic response to our relatives who lost so much of their work and life savings in this fire. Yet we were also feeling a personal loss because we each had our own memories associated with the store.
When we got in touch with my uncle’s family in India, however, we felt much better. We called with intentions of giving support and a positive outlook but we ended up feeling inspired by their strength. My cousin and his wife were being so positive and kept thanking God that everyone was safe and that’s all that matters. They had just left the store with their son 15 minutes prior to the electrical blast that triggered the fire. They kept reassuring us that all would be well and their faith in God and positive attitude uplifted us. Though there was monetary loss they realized that they could make it up over time since they were all fine. A loss of a life or a severe injury could never be made up. We all know this in our minds too but when dealing with a personal trauma, the logic often flies out the window. It was great to see that in the face of this trauma my relatives retained their faith, strength and logic. They were motivated to rebuild the store even nicer than it had been before.
I felt inspired after talking to them and also thought of all the people losing their homes in the brush fires in the west. It made me realize how small my problems are and yet they can seem overwhelming without this kind of perspective. I felt a sense of gratitude for everything I have whilst sometimes we just focus on what more we want. I called to offer help to my relatives but unknowingly they were the ones who gave me so much inspiration and a better outlook.