Holly T. Ashley

Oh did I type that outloud?

If anyone destroys the Temple of God… Him shall God destroy.

“Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:13-15).

I could hear the engines coming down the road. Their sirens bellowing through the crowded streets and we all rushed to usher our cars towards the sides of the road, making a clear path for the trucks to get to their victims…

I thought: “I gotta go! I have to get to the family… Yipee… all the family… holidays…


“Come on!” I yelled, allowed.

Like anyone can hear me….

I hope they weren’t victims… I mean… I pray that they are not victims…. What was that verse, “If you ask anything in my name…” That was a great verse to hear last week….

“Ok…. So Lord, I ask… IN YOUR NAME… don’t let there be any victims….”

But I shouldn’t have said “victims.” I put it out there… now it’s in the universe…

Oh crap!

“God… in your name…. I pray that you will: save those people – and don’t hold it against me that I threw that word out there… and now, well… I don’t know what happens…. But they say not to “speak” things into the universe…. Well… you get it… it’s your universe anyway…”

It seemed like it took a good 20 minutes for all the fire trucks, emt’s and police to get through… I can’t imagine what had happened… But as I pulled my car back out into the street and headed over the hill, I could see the smoke billowing from the northern part of the country… where I was headed…. Where the family lived.

“Oh, I hope I don’t know them….”

Here I go again, throwing crap out there! I mean, who’s to say it is a person. Maybe a barn caught on fire and the … animals…

“Oh crap! Don’t let it be animals! They are so defenseless! Why would you kill the animals, Lord?”

I continued to watch the smoke get darker as the billowing clouds of grey got higher and I drove down into the valley where my friend’s home is. Where that church is that we go to… sometimes – well, were there every Sunday! The kids love it…  Oh! There is a school over there too!

As I got closer I could see the flames actually shoot up in the air and as I turned the corner to our friend’s home…

The street was blocked off… I went around but to no avail… the whole area was blocked..

My heart sunk! It was beating out of control! I knew something bad was happening… I could feel it…

Oh my goodness! Oh Dear God!

I threw the car in park, not caring where I was… then I ran, I ran for what seemed like a lifetime –  each home 40 acres from one another…

As I got closer I could not believe it… the flames were everywhere – burning everything in it’s path… except one little white house next door…

I thought, “That’s odd… of course they wouldn’t get torched…. Pfffsh! Stupid think they know it all people… always telling other people to ‘not take the Lord’s name in vain’ and all that crap… I never use that word…

I think that’s what they mean… hmmmm…. take the Lord’s name in vain… it means…. that  word… “*&^ d…” right? There’s nothing more to that… right?

Good night! Who am I talking too? I need to put my blue tooth in so people don’t think I’m nuts….


Suddenly, I came up on the street… I think it’s the street that leads up to our friend’s home…

Holy crap! ….

I could see all the cars… They are all… there… my husband’s, Jimmy’s…

OH MY GOD! They are ALL there! Except ME!

I ran straight for the home… or what used to be the home…  but was immediately stopped by the police and fire Captain who grabbed me to contain me.

They sat me down and tried to get me to talk to them… But I couldn’t speak….

“Ma’am… who is in the house?”

I couldn’t find words… My mouth wouldn’t move…

But finally – I screamed – “OH MY GOD!”

“Miss, please, calm down…. We need to know who we are looking for… how many…”

I stared at them blankly…. How can I be calm? It was after 6pm. We had family coming in for the holidays, our friends gave up their home for us to have this elaborate dinner!  My husband was going to pick them up at the airport – he was bringing them and….  the kids…

“Oh my God! That was… Oh my God! … That was hours ago!”

“Ma’am?… what was hours ago?”

So I told them –

“Family… Friends…”

“So… how many? … Your husband… and… how many kids do you have… how many other people?”

I continued to zone out… I heard what he said… but…. I began to mutter…

“We worked so hard to build this house! We did it with our bare hands, you know!”

“But this is your friend’s house… right?”

I looked at him – did he not hear me the first time!

“Yeah. My husband and Jimmy… our friend… built it… we all built it. I mean… there was a foundation… we had that done for us.. actually – that church (pointing in a round about direction)… that church did it for us… (heavy sigh)… But, we built everything else…  (trailing off…) It was so much fun….”

“Yes ma’am, the foundation is still there. It was a good foundation… But it was everything else that caused the house to blow… Now… I need to you focus…. How many people are we looking for?”

I was dazed….

“I really don’t know … Why is that house (pointing to the little white house next door)… why is it still standing?”

The officer looked… shaking his head, “I really don’t know… But it seems sturdy.”

We built a sturdy house… We built it with lots of love and care. We did it are way too! We added all kinds of features and special little things that looked super cool… you know… modern.”

The Fire Chief stepped in and grabbed my shoulder to face him…. “So you veered off of the approved plans for the home? Is that why some of my men almost got killed?”

Getting angrier, “Is that why the house doesn’t match the plans we have! And my men almost got blown to smithereens… because you wanted to be MODERN!”

I started to tremble…. then I just got mad!

“Who are you to judge me? We are good people! This is a good house!”

“Who am I to judge you? I am the appointed authority! I am the Chief! These people are entrusted to me! I am here to save them – but you added to the plans…. Now, they house and your changes are not up to code. Don’t you realize that everything works together for the good of the house….!”

“Are you saying this is our fault? I’m a contractor! Don’t try that crap on me! We did not bring this destruction upon ourselves! You could have saved us! You have the power! You have the tools!”

The sheriff jumped in and grabbed my arms, swinging me around… He cuffed me! “You’re the contractor!?!”

“uh… yea…. yes! Yes, I am! What are you doing?!”

“You know better!” He stated.

The Chief wasn’t’ hesitant to chime in either – “You were given the codes – You knew! You are accountable!”

“Lady, what were you thinking!” The sheriff mussed…

“I was thinking that Jimmy was our friend! I tried to tell him!” I cried, “But he wouldn’t listen… He just got mad! I thought he wouldn’t be our friend anymore and he wouldn’t like us…”

“But you knew…” said the Fire Chief… “You read the code… you know what it says, and you chose to ignore it because you might loose a friend? Well… here’s the result of your decision…. it cost people their lives.”

“Oh my Gawd! You sound like the people in that little… TINY White house over there! Always telling us how to do things… Judging us…. Telling us that we were not doing it right… that it would fail…. That I am accountable!”

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Ps. 127).


The officer raised an eyebrow – and started to speak…. But,  I fired back…

“They were good modifications. They made everyone happy. Jimmy and his family were very happy with the way things turned out! We spent more time here then we did at our own house! Other people came into this house and did not  feel the least bit judged or uncomfortable – we made sure everyone was welcome and everyone could do everything that they wanted….”

“Look Miss. There are good materials and there are those that resist fire. You know that – because you know the rules – you studied the code and you knew what it would lead to! The latter – the fire resistant – it takes more time and energy to put together. It also takes constant maintenance, but it is solid and it lasts for eternity – giving the people inside an opportunity to escape the flames and breathe fresh air….  But you led them astray… You told them that all would be ok… knowing, in the end it would lead to destruction…”

“I thought I would have more time…. I thought over the course of the years, he might put more effort into it… I thought maybe there would be a better time to talk to him about the alternatives…. who knew….” (I thought for a minute… then it dawned on me… Hey!…) HEYYY!!!!!!!! How did this happen? It couldn’t have just spontaneously combusted!!!!” HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? IT IS NOT MY FAULT!

Just then a fireman came and announced that it was indeed arson…

“What? Arson?! Who would do this?!” (I was sitting on the ground at this point.. I was straining to hear the young fireman)…

“Someone inside set the place on fire…. We found the accelerate and a lighter next to… apparently a young boy…. Sir, I’m sorry to tell you, there are no survivors.”

“Accelerate? Who would set the house on fire? Young boy? What?”

“Ma’am, do you know who this boy might be?”

I was shaken… there was only one boy… mine! Why would he do such a thing? He would never!!!!

… I could hear him now…

“But mom! I want to! Give me it! Let me do it!”

I had to smile a little… he was so cute when he was determined to get his way…

There was never any stop to him… if he wanted it… he would find away. My independent boy! I knew he would grow up to do great things! Such determination! We didn’t want to shut down that creative spirit…. So, we let him… experiment… but to do something like this? N-E-V-E-R!

“I don’t believe you!” I yelled.

“Ma’am… It really does not matter what you believe. What you chose to believe does not change truth.”

flames “Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” (1 Cor. 3:13-15).


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