Saturday we were at Boy Three’s football game when Luke hurried out of the press box saying something about a brush fire behind the new house and that he had to go, call me later, bye. What I thought I heard was “a fire was near the trees” and even though he hurried off it never registered to me that it was anything to be overly concerned about. There were several acres of trees between us and anyone who would have been burning so it never occurred to me it would ever endanger our new neighborhood. Luke is more of the over-reactor in our marriage when a crisis first presents itself while I prefer to dwell in the bliss also known as Denial. It works for us.
About an hour passed and Luke never called so I called him. Me: “Everything okay?” Him: “It’s not out yet but I’ll need call you later, bye.” Hang up. I was a little perturbed with his being so short with me but didn’t have enough energy to invest in a full on mad. So, I resumed my life which at the moment consisted of making my stinky football player bathe before we went to some friends’ house to watch Alabama embarass the Gators. But I get ahead of myself.
Another hour passed, no call, and Luke is supposed to go to the friends’ with us. I didn’t necessarily want to get hung up on again so I decided to drive over to the other house to find out why he was taking so long. What I didn’t expect to see was our road lined in fire trucks and fire IN THE BACK YARD. What I had heard as ‘a brush fire near the trees’ was really ‘it is burning to the tops of the trees’. Yeah, if I’d heard that right the first time I wouldn’t have been so calm. I parked near the road, ran to find Luke and he said, “See why I didn’t call you back?” Why, yes. Yes, I do. Luke assured me what I was in current freak-out mode over was nothing compared to the enormity of what had already been contained. See how that worked? He was calm and it was my turn to lose it.
Did I mention how that works for us?
It’s normally at this point in a post when I’m trying to think of something somewhat funny to say or a tidy way to wrap up. It wasn’t funny. It’s not tidy. The “little brush fire” burned 17 acres and necessitated 3 different fire departments and U.S. Forestry be called to the scene. There is no more eery feeling than seeing fire trucks hose down your house and remaining on stand by just in case the fire jumps the break and decides to reduce life to ashes. Let me be clear, I was worried about our home but we aren’t living in it yet. Had it burned, it would have been devastating but not in the way it would have affected our precious neighbors. I am so incredibly grateful that the Lord preserved all of our homes but especially theirs. Especially theirs.
I am also so very thankful for our volunteer first-responders (many of whom are members of our church and/or dear friends in the community) who drop everything to run to our aid. I’m afraid to begin naming names because it would kill me to forget someone but you guys know who you are. Please hear with all the sincerity I own: THANK YOU. We take for granted the knowledge and skill required for what you do. We take for granted that there is no ‘little’ fire to you. You are endangered every single time without a dime to show for it. How blessed we are to live in a civilized nation where we can call three little numbers and be confident that help is on its way.
So, no. A charred forest wasn’t exactly the scenery we had hoped for. But sometimes the view isn’t so much about what you are looking at but rather what it has opened your eyes to see.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.