The Fire in our Neighborhood

On Monday of this week, the air was shattered as sirens screamed from eight trucks arriving at the burning house across the street in my neighborhood.  The second story puked black smoke and the air had an acrid, choking odor.  My driveway was completely blocked and, like everyone else within the six block radius, Rebecca and I ventured out to voyeuristically watch the action unfold.  Firefighters—all men in this particular instance— from three different departments worked in unison to put out the fire.  They entered the home in full “battle” gear, replete with oxygen strapped to their backs, and began ripping out the ceiling to shoot foam into what was an apparent electrical fire.  We watched through the window as best we could, although sometimes the smoke covered them from view. 

When the fire was completely out, the soot covered men gathered in a circle and talked.  From a distance, they appeared animated as though they were reenacting their actions. 

The residents of the burned home also gathered in their own sort of huddle…and cried.  In tennis match fashion, my eyes darted back and forth between the two groups, and I was struck by their differences.  But as I watched, a question came to mind. 

Why huddle?  What is it about groups that we seem to need?

The question, while seemingly absurd, may only appear so we fail to examine it.  Groups exist everywhere—in sports, business, worship, recovery and yes, even the Bunko group.  There must be a reason and a benefit.

Research suggests that support from others actually accomplishes two things:  (1) it may make us better—physically and (2) it may help us make decisions.  So, to believe that huddling simply “helps us feel good,” may diminish what actually occurs.  Perhaps huddling in groups offers us the opportunity to share, bolster, encourage, offer hope, mentor, and make better decisions. 

I started thinking about the groups of which I am a part and about how I am in these groups.  Do I listen?  Do I encourage?  Do I bolster? 

Think about it!