It was about 4:00 in the morning when I woke to heat, smoke, and bright flames at the foot of my bed. Something had caught fire this New Year's day and I was in bed when it happened. I don't know what exactly woke me up because I am not scathed in the slightest nor do I know what exactly caught fire and how it grew so big in just a few seconds but I do know that I am thankful to be alive and by the grace of God alone.
I'm just stopping in to say - reporting from my living room now as my bedroom has been made uninhabitable - that at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff and people (and pets) are irreplaceable. Divine providence somehow woke me up and my family and pets (all five dogs, all four cats!) escaped quickly and without incident, although one big, dumpy old dog decided to run back in but found a bed to hide under that wasn't mine. The fire was contained to my bedroom but because most of what caught fire and burned away was polyester, plastic, or otherwise black-smoke emitting, the entire house is covered in soot and grime that isn't easily washed away. But thankfully, clean up is all we've got left and there's no tears to be shed over something like that.
I didn't lose as much as I thought I would have as the family and I were standing outside, freezing, and I, myself, in nothing more than a bathroom and having left my glasses on my bed that caught fire, I knew for sure they were gone. Within an hour, (and after having gotten there in three minutes) the fire department had things under control. I hadn't gotten to see any of it because of my poor eye sight and after saying something about being legally blind, a fireman ran back into the house to pick up my glasses he had put on my dresser. If you ever wanted a scene to depict the word "thankful," that was it. I couldn't stop crying and hugged the fireman at least three times before letting him go.
It all seems so surreal. But again, stuff is just stuff. This was a small house fire. True, my room needs to be deftly replaced in every sense of the word but it was concentrated just there and no where else (besides the mess). And for that, I'm truly thankful. Words cannot express what COULD have been but what wasn't. Again, divine providence and the sheer grace of God is something that couldn't have been more visible.
The tremendous amount of help and love being thrown our way by friends, family, and strangers alike is incredible and tear-inducing. There are people - neighbors and family, mostly, but then strangers too who only heard about the fire are pitching in. It's amazing. Again, I didn't lose much but as my Dad and I crept through the mess on the first look inside, I saw more than I wanted to. A lot of really special things that I loved dearly are gone but at the end of the day, it's all just stuff.
As we approach the end of the holidays, stuff is stuff and family is forever - like it or not. These are the people that walk with you day in and day out, through the very heaviest and the very thinnest of our lives, through the good and the bad and the broke and the comfortable, we've all got someone and if you don't, you're somebody's someone. Pets count here, too. I'll continue to diary things here as there's no where else I can put them. Some upcoming before-and-afters may be okay and some smoke-eater tips and what is best to get the grime off your stuff because boy, let me tell you, I'm going through some lengths to get certain things clean. I now know what works and what doesn't. Anyway. Remember. Stuff is stuff. You can buy "stuff" all day long. I still have a house to come home to and for that, I'm truly thankful.