I hardly have words for the level of gratitude that fills our hears today. Since the fire we have felt more love and generosity from friends, family, and even people we don’t know, than we have felt in our entire lives. You know who you are, we know who you are, and we are so humbled by your love that it is causing me personally, to look at everything a little differently. I’m realizing that I have some things to learn through this event in our lives, and I would like to share a bit of that process with you, if you don’t mind.
(Please pardon the lack of pictures. As of now there isn’t much to show.)
So the fire.
A little over a week ago there was a BIG storm in the middle of the day. I came home to find that a neighbor’s gigantic tree had crashed into our house; more specifically right onto Weston’s room. Not cool. The power was out in the entire neighborhood so I immediately set about to light all the candles in the house to shine over my pizza making extravaganza! Luckily the pizza wasn’t entirely assembled by the time I realized that no power means the ovens-broke-too. (I’ve mentioned before my lack of intelligence, yes?) So Dub and I ate some food, packed a couple of bags of other food that we would be heart-broken without and headed to my sister’s house. She said she still had power, and I was too nervous to let Weston sleep in his room, obviously. That lasted until about 1:30am when Dub refused to sleep anymore. He doesn’t get a ton of experience sleeping elsewhere, so by 2:30am we were packing up and heading home. I am 8 months pregnant, and tired, and at this point miserable, but hey.
Mr. H. hadn’t been home earlier, but he was home sleeping now-and DEEPLY, let me tell you. I called him several times and texted him as well, all of which he slept through. Eventually, standing in a pitch black neighborhood on the front porch one of my calls got through and he let us in. It’s pretty strange without the power, like what Noah’s world must have been like (I’ll get to that part). We got Dub into his bed (Mr. H. had been up on the roof earlier when he got home to check it out and he put tarps down and said he was sure it was secure), lit a self-contained candle in our room, and laid down to go to sleep at about 3:20am in complete and utter silence.
As I lay there, sure I would never sleep again due to the lack of white noise anywhere I began to hear a faint beating sound. Now it was about 3:45am. It was like someone was beating on a door from really far away. Then other sounds, and then running up the stairs from our basement (Note: a longtime family friend lived in our basement so it wasn’t crazy to hear sounds at times). But something was different this time. It sounded…panicked. Suddenly the steps ran down again and something big fell and broke loudly. Mr. H. and I sat up, looked at each other, and then we smelled it. Fire. Then we said it. “FIRE!” We were both on auto-pilot. I to my robe and then to Dub’s room. Mr. H. to his shorts and on down to help our neighbor put the fire out. As the smoke-filled our room and hallway (I’m talking about 15 seconds until it became clear we did not have time to do ANYTHING but get out) our plans changed. I grabbed Dub first of course, ran down the hallway and looked in my purse for my phone which I couldn’t find (why I didn’t grab my purse I have NO idea), looked for my shoes which I couldn’t find, realized one dog was not coming to my calls so I ran back down the hallway into the room and had to physically move one dog out of bed and outside, while 8 months pregnant, while carrying my almost 2-year-old. Mr. H. thought to grab his phone and the keys thank goodness because that was it. That was all we had time for. All in all about 60 seconds of sheer panic. The cats were still inside, but Dub and I went to the car to get in. Mr. H. turned around to go back inside for the cats when he heard our neighbor stuck in the garage. There was enough smoke coming out of the entire house at this point that Mr. H. knew it was between the cats and our friend, so he ran for the garage. He couldn’t get it open, and of course the electricity was out so he ran around the side and tried to kick the door in to no avail. Eventually they got the emergency lever pulled and he got out. Mr. H. immediately turned to run back inside to find the cats but by that point (I would say another minute) there was absolutely no way anyone was going inside the house again. The smoke was billowing out and completely blinding.
So we sat there in the car, watching our house burn. It’s an interesting feeling watching everything you have spent the last few years building go up in smoke. For me specifically it was very surreal. I suppose that is because my home has been everything over the last year or so. I have gotten our environment to the place where I’m so pleased with it-asthetically speaking-that I almost can’t pick anything I would change. If you know me that is saying A LOT. I’ve chosen every bed linen, every tone of material used for the pillows I sewed to match the couch, every fiber, every rug, every hue in each room…I’ve geeked-the-eff-out over my domain to the point where it’s entirely possible I’ve taken it too far. Regardless, it’s something I was proud of, and I loved our little house and every single little living plant I so painstakingly cared for each day. This is not to mention the things that are irreplaceable, pictures, memories, etc. Fire is…devastating.
I tell you this last part because I think what follows in interesting. As I’ve mentioned, we didn’t have time to leave with our shoes on much less anything of value except our human selves. I even stood for a moment in front of my two robes and very purposely decided to grab my $15 T.J.Maxx. robe instead of my newly purchased $150 handmade Lithuanian linen robe because I didn’t want to get smoke on the linen one…WHAT?! What we ended up in the car with was quite literally only. what. mattered. We had us, and one phone (with which to call those who needed to know), and car keys. We lost Mr. H’s precious cat in the fire. Don’t know why that had to happen. Our downstairs friend lost his beloved cat in the fire too. Dido the 13-year-old survivor cat made it out alive, of course. But what of the fact that I lost every single stupid thing I’d been obsessing over for the past year or more? What about the fact that I didn’t have to lose one person?
What if that tree hadn’t landed on Dub’s room and Dub and I hadn’t been at my sister’s house and then come home in the middle of the night unable to sleep? What if we hadn’t been just falling asleep when the fire started? Would we have woken up before the smoke overtook us? What if Dub had been able to sleep at my sister’s and the deep sleeper Mr. H. had been home alone and slept right through the muffled noises and the smoke had just taken him deeper? Our friend/neighbor could have been stuck in the garage for too long and neither man might have gotten out alive. I mean, it was US that called the fire department. That fire was so fast, I mean SO FAST. What kind of gentle lesson might be being taught to me/us?
As we all know I am a believer. I am unashamed about it because I think it might be the one thing that bodes well for my brain cells after many years of not making very smart choices. See, if I didn’t believe, after everything I’ve lived through and experienced I would be a complete fool. Complete. We will leave it at that for now. So I’ve been asking myself “Have I been much too focused on things, and not at all enough focused on people?” Relationships have certainly fallen away these last few years so that is a possibility. I also know that people are what matters to God. I find myself now living in an rv in very close quarters with my husband and little boy, about to have another baby (with nowhere to do that btw), and unable to manage or control any of it. There has been stress in my life for quite a while now due to my trying to control things. Interesting that I find myself unable to control anything in this new situation. Maybe my learning extends beyond the physical things I was allowing to pull me down. Maybe I need to learn to submit control to Him completely, and for the first time in my life. I mean, maybe.
I found myself on the ground in a puddle of tears in the middle of the night in the rv the other night having a conversation with The Lord where I think I realized that giving control over to him is exactly what I’m suppose to be doing, cause guess what? I can’t do any of this. Absolutely none of what is required of me I can do right now. I birth my babies at home and I don’t have a home to do that in. I have no home to prepare or nest or get ready. I have nothing to ready even if I were to somehow come up with a home in the next few weeks. The only way I see that my situation may change is if God takes over and makes this what He wants it to be. God has to do it, because I just plain can’t.
Mr. H. and I have been so blessed by his work family this last week as they have given him several days off to help me get things sorted out. With the storm from yesterday it was time for him to go back in and help. Having him gone makes the reality of this new situation really set in. There was actually a moment where I thought, “Hm…it’s going to be kind of boring in the rv without him, I think Dub and I will go back home until he is off work.” Yeah. I suppose the denial part of grief is happening. I don’t have a home. No home. This is my home. I know Dub has been grappling with it because he looks at me and says “Weston’s OLD HOUSE….GO INSIDE.” My heart breaks. Today when Mr. H. went to work again I realized how lonely I am. I usually keep myself really busy with chores and cooking and Dub’s routine. Now I have none of that and I didn’t know what to do so I called my mom and asked if we could come visit for a few hours before Dub’s bedtime. I got a bag together locked up and even had the car all cooled down with the a/c blasting when I got to the side door to load Dub up and realized Mr. H. had gone into work without leaving me the car seat. I lost it. I sat down on the front porch and literally lost it. Poor Weston didn’t like that so he lost it too and it was just a scene. I think that was the first time I realized what really happened. Everything is different now.
That said, every single time I think of the fire I think of how overwhelmingly grateful I am. I have my husband and my babies and our friend got out, thank you Jesus.
So Dub and I went inside. My Aunt and Uncle are out-of-town and said we could use their house as our own while they are gone. They have been a blessing beyond what we deserve and we are so grateful. I took a whimpering Dub and myself downstairs to watch Noah. I’d heard not good things about it, but I was open to being entertained. (For the record I liked it). There is a scene in the movie once the flood has occurred where it is dark and scary and they are asking Noah to allow people onto the ark and he has to hold fast, despite what he might desire because he is listening to God. I realized that it may be possible that I’m in a similar circumstance. I mean, I’m not Noah okay, jeez I’m super dramatic but I don’t think I’m the chosen one or something. My mom laughed so hard when I told her this part…okay all laughing aside though listen. I’m thinking it’s possible I’m not suppose to go anywhere, have any distractions, control anything, focus on stuff, or anything at all that takes my focus off of Him. I mean, in the most gentle way (i.e.; I still have my babies and my man and even my precious Ani girl) all distractions have been taken from me and the only thing left is this crazy new phase in life where as an expecting mother I want more than anything to have my world be fashioned in a certain way and yet it is not, and I can do nothing at all about it. I don’t know why but it has taken THIS FOR ME TO TURN TO HIM. This is the first time in my entire life I have realized that I need Him completely and entirely for everything.
I honestly think that for me, that is what this is about.