In the blink of an eye your life can change.
Suddenly you look at life completely differently. The world is more clear, your purpose more intense, your family that much more important.
That is where I am right now. Everything is crystal clear and I suddenly realize that we were stagnant before. Matt and I were just going about our lives, and taking everything for granted. Yes, we were happy, but we were lacking something. A spark; that feeling of completeness. We had let our spiritual lives grow stagnant. Than suddenly, things started happening that felt like God giving us nudges: our AC unit suddenly stopped cooling our house and when the AC guy came to take a look he told us that it would cost us $500 just to get it running smoothly again, we ignored it. Than our truck tire suddenly; overnight, decided to go completely flat. Matt put the spare on and we shrugged it off. Than while Matt was pulling some weeds, he got stung by a scorpion. Yet again we just ignored it and thought: Wow, life is really throwing us curve balls this month.
I knew that I was stagnant. I knew that Matt was stagnant. We had said it to each other, but neither of us really cared that we were stagnant. We went to church, told Elle about Jesus and just went about our lives.
Then that all changed.
Thursday night Matt and I went to bed like normal, and passed out, going into a really deep sleep we hadn’t gotten in a real long time. I remember; vaguely, Elle making some noise a few hours later, but I couldn’t quite seem to wake up fully enough to go get her. She quieted and I let myself fall into that deep, coma like sleep you encounter every once in awhile.
Than every parent’s worse nightmare happened. I woke to the sound of the Fire alarm screeching and the Carbon monoxide alarm going off. Both were in the house. I remember feeling really confused and foggy minded, but Matt and I stumbled out of bed and looked around. Our room was full of smoke, our kitchen was full of smoke and the living room was saturated. In confusion, I tried to turn on the fan, I’m not quite sure why I did that other than some where in my mind I thought “We need to get the smoke out of the house” like it was just a burnt pan on the stove. When the fan wouldn’t turn on that snapped my mind into clarity.
We had to get out of the house. Matt yelled at me to get outside and I called to the dogs.
Standing outside all of a sudden things really became clear. Our house was on fire and Elenore and my husband were still inside. Looking inside I saw Matt running around opening windows and I yelled to him to get Elenore. I could tell the smoke was getting to him because he looked really confused for half a second and than he went to get her. Thank God, the smoke had just reached her room and there wasn’t much inside of her room.
He brought her to me and we stood outside in the pouring rain as Matt called 911. That’s when I suddenly realized that Prince was still trapped inside. Matt went back in for him and finally we were all safe.
There really is something about standing in a thunderstorm, watching smoke pour from your house, and hearing sirens in the distance. It has a surreal quality and you really can’t imagine it till it happens to you.
The cops got Elenore and I into an ambulance and we sat there as Fire fighters went in and out of our house. That night will forever being set in my memory with the smell of smoke, the sound of sirens, the sound of rain, and the flashing of lights.
We sat in the ambulance for a good hour before a fire fighter came to us to tell us that they had gotten the fire out and wanted to know if we needed any help getting somewhere to sleep. When we said we were good, he told Matt he could enter the house in a few minutes to get us clothing and our keys so that we could leave to find somewhere to sleep that night.
At this point we were still in a haze, Matt looked at me and suddenly it hit us. Our house was on fire, we could have died.
If we didn’t have those fire alarms, we would have never woken up. The smoke would have taken us and than Elenore way before our neighbors even realized that our house was on fire, or even before the flames were even visible outside the home. It would have been way to late.
Either Elenore would have been an orphan or our whole family would have gone to heaven that night.
We suddenly had clarity, tons of clarity.
So now here we sit, in a hotel room, going in and out of our house, looking at the damage and hearing person, after person tell us how lucky we are to be alive. And we couldn’t agree more.
Our spiritual life is vibrant, our love for each other is vibrant, the world in which we live is beautiful. All because we suddenly realized that life can be taken from you in a blink of an eye.
I’m not going to say that God caught our house on fire to get our attention, but he sure used it to get us to wake up. (figuratively and literally)
Never again will we take life for granted. And we will never look back.