Sunday, June 19, 2011

And Sometimes Life Just Happens... The Aftermath.

I would have liked to blame this latest incident for my blogging break, but alas it was not the cause. It will be the cause of the next one though...
Never tempt fate. No sooner had I shared a post on Facebook in regard to adopting minimalism- especially in regard to kids stuff, than most of said kids stuff was literally gone in a big puff of smoke and melted LEGOS.

We heard the smoke alarm around 1am on Saturday morning. We though it was another dead battery at first. It wasn't. My husband jumped out of bed to attack the villain disrupting his rest to find that the villain was not as innocuous as we had first supposed. There was white smoke covering the ceilings throughout the house. Jody went to check on the boys as I called 911. Our oldest son was in the bathroom. Our younger son was still asleep in a room full of smoke and his brother's bed on fire.  I grabbed the baby and we got everyone outside. My oldest daughter was visiting her dad in Pennsylvania.
The fire department was there in under five minutes-  still enough time for the room to be completely engulfed in flames.
At this point the cause of the fire is undetermined, though we suspect it is electrical in origin- either from the house itself or from a fan plugged into the outlet behind the bed.  We know without a doubt as does the fire department that my son did not cause the fire through any kind of misconduct. Whatever the cause, we now deal with the aftermath...

Aftermath seems like such a strong word really, reserved for huge tragedies of catastrophic proportions. This is not that. WE have too much to be thankful for, too much to praise God for. I try very hard to not go the "what could've happened" place, but going there even for a few seconds just serves to make me more thankful than ever. You have only to look at the picture of the remains of Taylor's bed to understand where I'm coming from.

I have been blessed to be able to see God's hands working in my life in a very real and substantial way in the everyday small things in my life, but for me God is so much more evident when the big stuff comes along.

Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ".

Time and time again these words have rung true for me. Hindsight is truly 20/20 and to borrow a phrasing from a favorite author of mine- God is found in rearview mirrors. A case in point, my poor son Taylor has suffered with an annoying problem of having to be up A LOT at night using the bathroom. As a result he is often tired throughout the day. We have seen doctor's about it, but between waiting for referrals and seeing some temporary improvement, the condition continues. It was because of this annoying condition that my son was not in his bed at 1am when the flames erupted under his bed. AS guilty as I have felt about not being more aggressive about getting his problem treated, I am glad I didn't. God used even my bad parenting to bring glory and honor to Himself.
                                                         The wall Taylor's bed sat in front of.

I can plainly see how the rough roads the Lord has taken me through always lead me to the places He wants me to be. So we find ourselves on yet another rough road, but I am very confident that it is leading us to a place that God is choosing for us, and that cannot possibly be a bad or scary place if He is there with us.

Of course I have been speaking in platitudes, in the realm of thought and attitude. There is of course the practical to think about. God is good here too though. First our neighbors have given us safe haven when we needed it, and we do have another place to go. We always have a place to stay with my husband's gracious and generous parents. It is here where we will be going while we figure out the rest of the practical stuff. What exactly is that practical stuff many of our friends have been asking? For now it looks like this...

The boys room was pretty much completely destroyed, including their beds, all of their toys(including their ever so precious LEGOS). Many of their clothes and shoes are beyond redemption because of smoke damage. The ones we have salvaged thus far are in question as well. The first wash has not taken all of the smoke smells out and we are not sure if the smell will ever come out. We had just visited the library that day so my bookworm son Taylor had A LOT of hardback chapter books in his bed that were totally destroyed.(I wonder if all that kindling kept the fire from jumping to Ryan's bed- so I am thankful for this too!) I am hoping the library will be understanding- if not we are looking at some major fees to replace the books.

The rest of the house and stuff were saved from fire damage, but smoke damage infiltrated pretty much every nook and cranny. We have been told that if it was cloth, it's gone. So that means our couch, chair, bed, bedding, bible covers and everyone else's clothes may be a total loss as well. We've also been told that anything paper may never be the same again as well- so pictures and books may forever be an olfactory reminder of our Father's Day Weekend Fire.
                                            Every vent in the house looks like this one.

Never to end on a negative note, this truly was the Father's day in action- my family is safe and we have literally been surrounded by family and friends- the body of Christ- lifting us up. I have also been given an opportunity to streamline, to have the choice taken away from me of hanging on to stuff- either for lack of time to get rid of it or the age old nagging feeling of thinking I'll be able to use it "someday". (We art teachers are particularly prone to this disease).We were hoping to find another place, though perhaps smaller, that might fit our financial means better-  as making the rent each month was a struggle. All of our stuff was a going to be a stumbling block in making that happen. We also wanted to do some repairs on the house that were caused by normal wear and tear- and some that were not, in an attempt to get as much of our deposit back as possible. The Lord has taken the need to do that away- though our hope of a return deposit is gone too.

As much as Jody and I can see all the good amidst the bad, it is a difficult concept for kids to understand though. As much as we want our kids to not be concerned over material things and to be thankful for the truly important things God has given and kept safe for them, the truth is also that they are kids and all their stuff just got destroyed. They are dealing with major feelings of loss and will be in the middle of stressful transitions over the next days and weeks, so please be in prayer for them and us as we navigate this next section of rough road using God's compass.