I was just 14 at the time, but remember there was more to the fire than the news was reporting. I could sense my mother was more troubled than news of a random fire just south of our home in Cincinnati would produce, but my questions didn’t get many immediate answers.
Later, the news would report that the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire was the third deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, a title which it still holds today. 165 people died with over 200 non-fatal injuries incurred. One of the things I remember about that night, and the day after, was the seemingly endless list of names of the identified dead scrolling up the screen as my mother watched in dread, as though she was expecting to see a name while praying she wouldn’t.
As it turned out, there was someone at the Beverly Hills that night who my parents knew. My dad had been talking to him about spiritual things, trying to get him to return to God from his backslidden condition. The Christian-holiness sensibilities of the 1970’s led my parents to see this gentleman’s presence at a nightclub as confirmation of his refusal to return to his saving relationship with God.
I’m sure this man my parents were so concerned about didn’t even imagine that May 28, 1977 would be his last day on this earth. I’m sure as dad talked to him about his spiritual life and eternal destiny that he assumed he would have another day to consider his future. I’m sure it wasn’t even on his mind that his decisions that night would determine his ultimate -and eternal- destination.
We can’t fully know from day-to-day what our decisions will have on our future but we can live in such a way that we know whatever our future holds, we are in God’s hands. If we have given our hearts to God and are allowing Him to guide our lives and decisions, our choices -while they may be our last- won’t leave others grieving about our future.
The Beverly Hills on fire: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34045531
The Beverly Hills bar: The Beverly Hills Supper Club bar. Photo courtesy of the Kenton County Public Library