Although the countryside in Luther was gripped in fear Sunday night with the tragic double homicide of beloved neighbors, another, more hopeful event occurred on the other side of town before the sun went down.
When the big fire swept through Luther in 2012, Ken and Kris Cross had just purchased land on John Morley Road and moved a new fifth-wheel RV out there, with a plan to build a dream home.
In fact, they moved to the land just days before the fire raged across their acres. On a television at their daughter’s home in Guthrie, the Cross’ watched their new home and land burn. Like many others in the area – the fire took most of their material possessions.
But not their hope.
It’s taken some time, replanning and a few hiccups, but the Cross’, natives of Vermont, have taken a big step in recent days – construction is progressing for their new home, on the the land they love in Luther.
Grandchildren (and the grandchildren’s parents, but mostly the grandchildren!) brought the life-long New Englanders to Oklahoma – that’s what love does. In short order, Ken & Kris have learned how to live with a life that brings tornadoes, and other near disasters that seem to be part of our way of life, including wildfires. They were tough already. Now they are stronger.
The walls are going up
Ken & Kris hosted a house church gathering at their place Sunday night, and we took the liberty of bringing Sharpie markers and girded the new interior walls with scripture and sayings.
Then the gathering was led to the four corners of their land. At each corner, more Scripture was read, and the sheets were posted into the ground, as gateposts. A dedication.
Four years later, new life has pushed through the ashes. The thicket is largely clear, a blessing from the fire. And the charred lifeless trees hang almost as artwork to remind. Those trees eventually will be cut for firewood or furniture or another useful thing.
Like so many of our neighbors who lost everything after that devastating fire, there has been rebuilding. Rebuilding of lives, of material possessions that we can’t take with us anyway, and homes – either in the same spot or in other parts. Four years later. We were tough before. Now we are stronger.