Two recent fires in our neighborhood got me talking to a couple of firemen about our house fire last December. We had been asleep for about an hour with our wood burning stove blazing hot. Tom was woke by the Spirit a little after midnight and from the bed, yelled, “Dana, call 911 the house is on fire.”
We jumped out of bed. I grab the cell phone and called 911 and ran into our youngest son’s bedroom. I gave him a shake and said, “Get your shoes on and go outside, the house is on fire.”
The lady from 911 is asking me over and over again, “Is everyone out of the house.” I’m running downstairs so I can wake up our other two kids as Tom fights the fire with a fire extinguisher. I wake up the two kids from downstairs and run back up the stairs. Tom is still fighting the fire. I can hear sirens but still no fire trucks or firemen.
I look for my youngest son only to find he has crawled back into bed. The lady on phone is still asking if everyone is out of the house and I’m saying, “I’m trying,” and I go into my youngest son’s room and yell, “Get up and go outside, the house is on fire.”
He said, “Dad said I could go back to bed.” At this point, I’m ticked that the lady won’t let me get off the phone so I hand the phone to Tom who is still fighting the fire. It didn’t make him happy but I had to get my youngest son awake enough to get him to realize the house really was on fire.
My three kids (my oldest is at college) and I got into our van and started it. It is December and it’s cold. The fire trucks arrive and I see men running into the house with axes and hoses. The kids and I are sitting the van staring at the house as flames are shooting up.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked about what we would grab if the house was on fire or a tornado was coming. I always knew what I’d grab, my Bible, I’ve had it since I was 17. My laptop, contacts or glasses. Purse so I’d have money. Shoes in case you lost everything you’d need a pair. My kids make comments about a beloved stuffed animal. Kindle, game boys, pets.
We’re sitting in the car the second week of December and it’s freezing. One kid came out with no shoes. None of us grabbed a coat and only one grabbed a blanket. I had my glasses on and my purse but no Bible and no laptop. We stared at the house and one of the kids asked, “Where are the dogs?” Another said, “Sam and Joey are still inside.” Our beloved rats, yes, I said rats. They really do make good pets. We had seconds and grabbed nothing. There wasn’t time.
Sam and Joey were downstairs in their cage and our dogs were in the garage. The firemen wouldn’t let us get them out. The air might fuel the fire when the door opened. They also wouldn’t let us back in the house.
Our house was saved but two nights later, the house two houses down from us, caught on fire. They were not as blessed. They lost the house, the contents and their dog.
It really helped me to learn what is really important. It’s not the things we think we can’t live without or even our pets that we love so dearly. The only thing that’s really important is people.
Let’s continue striving to really see people, to love them and show them Jesus. They are what’s important. Loving people, loving Jesus. It’s our church’s mission. It’s my mission. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” What’s your letter saying?