You may not remember her name, but you know her story: On Christmas Eve, her house burned, and her three daughters and her parents died in the fire. Now Madonna Badger has written a piece for Vogue. It’s a tough read; prepare to weep. Prepare also to be surprised by what she has learned — and by what you can learn from her. Like this, about her trip to an orphanage in Thailand:
The garage behind the house in Stamford hadn’t caught fire, and I had stored old boxes of toys there that my girls had outgrown and a bunch of things I had saved for them for when they grew up. I took a bag of it all to Thailand, and on Christmas morning I gave the girls presents, and they were so excited. Thirty or so of them came and stood in front of me and prayed for me in Thai. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them we were all crying. When I looked into the girls’ faces, I saw my children. It broke me open in a way I still can’t fully explain. But if these little girls were living their lives with joy and happiness, I realized — and if they could give their love to me after all they had been through — how could I possibly feel sorry for myself? What they showed me was that what had happened to them had just happened. It wasn’t “done” to them, just as none of this had been “done” to me. I wasn’t being punished; I had not been singled out.