November 27, 2018

A man in Canada only had a brief chance to grab his belongings before a wildfire ravaged his neighborhood. It was at that very sober moment that he reminded himself how there wasn’t anything as important as his family.

After John Craig MacIsaac, originally from Goshen, Nova Scotia, escaped the Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta in May 2016, he decided to sort out his thoughts by writing a sharing on Facebook.

Flames engulf trees along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 6, 2016.
©Getty Images | AFP/Cole Burston

MacIsaac wrote that he was thankful that he and his family were given a room at a camp, and was amazed at how calm his children were after losing their home and contents.

“They have no fears, no sense of loss about everything,” he wrote. “It’d actually calming for me to reassure my daughter that her toys don’t matter, and that the few personal items we got out are more than we need.”

Posted by John Craig MacIsaac on Saturday, June 14, 2014

However, he couldn’t get rid of some distracting thoughts from his mind.

“It’s funny because as I stare in the dark I keep telling myself that the words running through my head aren’t true. The words ‘it’s all gone’ won’t pass.”

Posted by John Craig MacIsaac on Saturday, May 30, 2015

Despite those thoughts, he knew that he had everything he needed with him—his family.

“Nothing mattered except my family,” he explained, adding that there are two reasons for sharing his feelings.

“One because I need to let some of this out of my head, and two because I hope it will make everyone squeeze your kids a little tighter this week.”

Posted by John Craig MacIsaac on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

With his family safe and sound by his side, MacIsaac felt compelled to express the significance of making time for our loved ones.

“Call your sister you are angry at and make up, or your brother you haven’t had time to chat with in a while and say hi. Tell your loved ones they are loved and make time for a family dinner.”

Posted by John Craig MacIsaac on Friday, December 11, 2015

Moreover, the devastating fire allowed him to see people’s better side, and not focus on the negative as much as before.

“I saw camp workers going up to the desk of their camp trying to hand in their keys so families could have a place to stay.”

“People smiling and people in tears, and children running and laughing. It gives me hope that people are better than we think. More caring and selfless. Kind and compassionate.”

Flames engulf trees along a highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, on May 6, 2016.
©Getty Images | Cole Burston/AFP

While it is devastating to lose everything, these tangible things can be rebuilt with time.

A human life, however, is most precious. A human life cannot be replaced.

So, cherish your family, your friends, and those around you with all your heart.