*Before I start this story, please know that everyone involved is safe and fine, but we are a little shaken and a little stressed, which is why I wrote this post. I needed to get these things out of my head.*
Have you ever been responsible for waking up more than 5,000 people at 6:45 am on a Saturday? I can now cross that one off the bucket list.
There’s something incredibly surreal about waking up at 6:23 am and smelling smoke. I spent a minute trying to convince myself that it was something else, that I was dreaming, that I was imagining things. But, unable to fall back asleep, I knew I needed to check it out.
I opened the door to the hallway and it was even stronger, and I could even see the smoke when I turned on the light in the bathroom. Just as I was hoping this could be a problem that could wait a few more hours, the smoke alarm downstairs started beeping. I ran downstairs and the smell of smoke was everywhere. Inescapable. Panic (and thankfully some adrenaline) started to set in. I woke up my roommate, called my dad for advice, and then proceeded to call 911.
We left the house and sat in my car, hoping that this wasn’t a big deal. And then the town sirens started going off to alert the volunteer fire department that we needed help. At 6:45 am. On a Saturday. Liz and I could do nothing but laugh at that point, and then laugh some more as not one or two, but THREE FIRE TRUCKS, carrying approximately 20 firemen, arrived at our house.
Can I just pause for a moment to talk about volunteer fire fighters? WOW, I am so grateful for these men who all woke up and came to our aid. They were joyful and understood our worry, and did not leave until they were certain the situation was stabilized. And now I’m on a first-name basis with the fire chief, so that’s pretty neat.
At this point we realized that we were supposed to be out of town this weekend, until a massive snow storm hit and our scheduled retreat was cancelled. We would have been gone. Our house could have literally burnt down. God really knows what He’s doing. His ways are so, so high above our ways.
The rest of today has been long, but filled to the brim with generosity. Our neighbor offered to let us come into his family’s house while we waited for the firemen to be done. Our male teammates welcomed us into their home at 7:30 am with a pot of coffee and a plate of cookies ready to share. A few of our students have volunteered to take us in for the next few nights until our furnace (the source of the issue) can be replaced.
Today was a wake-up call. I’ve learned lessons about checking smoke alarms (CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS, KIDS. RIGHT NOW.), generosity, detachment from material possessions, gratitude, and handling stressful situations when alarms go off, be the alarms literal or metaphorical.
In the midst of the chaos, I got to see a gorgeous sunrise. I am alive. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me in these ways.