I need to talk about Grenfell Tower.
Explaining the events at Grenfell Tower to my daughter.
What if Grenfell Tower was my home?
When stories like the Grenfell Tower tragedy hit the headlines, they shock and upset me, but, at the end of the day, it’s something that happened to someone else. I don’t always take the time to imagine how I’d feel if it was me. So, as I prayed for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, their families and the local community, I tried to imagine how I’d feel if it was my story. Instead of a tower block in central London, I imagined it was my house, my road, my housing estate. Suddenly, in my mind, the hundreds of high-rise apartments became rows and rows of houses on my street and the next one and the next – until half of my estate was raised to the ground. Instead of strangers, the dead, injured, homeless and grieving were my family members, my neighbours, my friends. The scenario may have been imagined, but I finally had the tiniest glimpse of the immense suffering this avoidable tragedy caused. As a result, my prayers were so much more heartfelt.
The charred shell of Grenfell Tower stands as a powerful reminder of the terrible cost of ignoring safety concerns and using sub-standard materials. If it angers and frustrates me, I can understand the frustration, the anger and the pain suffered by those involved, now that it’s clear this tragedy could (and should) have been avoided. I can understand how their minds are filled with the ‘Whys’, ‘If onlys’ and the ‘What ifs?’. Residents who obeyed instructions from the emergency services to stay in their flats should have been safe once the firemen contained the blaze in the apartment where the fire started. They weren’t.
It is my hope that those who’ve been injured, lost homes and belongings, or, worse still, their loved ones, will get the justice they deserve. #lestweforget.
Where’s the good news?
When I tried to imagine how I’d feel if Grenfell Tower were my home, my gratitude towards those who helped, both during and in the aftermath of this disaster, increased. Gratitude for each and every member of the fire service, health service and all the other services who helped that day and continue to do so. Yet my gratitude isn’t just for those whose job it is to help: it’s for the volunteers, the neighbours, the friends and people the length and breadth of the country who’ve felt compelled to get involved.
Like others, I’ve felt heartened, encouraged and occasionally overwhelmed by the inspirational stories of those who’ve opened their homes, offered clothes and food, dug deep into their pockets or raised money.
Yes, even in the worst of times, we see people at their best. We see the friends, neighbours, volunteers and charities rallying round to help, united in purpose and determined to do something, no matter how small.
It’s times like this when we find ourselves moved to tears by the kindness of strangers. It’s times like this when our faith in humanity is restored by stories of selflessness and heroism. It’s times like this when we feel hopeful, seeing people and communities, so often divided by race and religion, uniting for the common good.
That is good news.
Artists for Grenfell Official Charity Single.
This. Moved. me. Thank you to all those who made this happen and the artists involved.
If you want to support those affected by the Grenfell Tower Fire, you can donate here: http://artistsforgrenfell.com
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ – Matthew 25:35-36.
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