May your home always be too small to hold all your friends. ~~ Irish Blessing
We love because he first loved us. If someone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. ~~ 1 John 4:19-20 (NASB)
Recently an extremely hot, dry, windy day took me back to July 22nd 2008 when I received the phone call from my husband….”You might want to get home as soon as possible.” There was major grass fire that started 5 miles east of our house that was moving rapidly in our direction and we were being advised by the fire department to get important documents and other important and sentimental items and evacuate the house. I was enjoying some time with a precious girlfriend of mine. She saw the panicked look on my face grabbed the keys to my car and insisted that she would be driving. I made a few phone calls on the way home one of which was to my son. It was his 21st birthday. One he will never forget. As we approached our home we were met with several fire trucks and emergency vehicles parked at the entrance to our property. The fireman said we had approximately 30 min. to get anything we might want out of the house. As we drove to our residence I notice much activity. My husband, son and a group of friends had already arrived and were moving items of importance.
Although the fire was still at somewhat of a distance you could feel the intense heat, see the billowing smoke, and ashes falling down around us. It seemed so surreal. A million thoughts went through my head as we worked to remove special items from our home. One of my thoughts was this residence was not just a house to me, it was a magnificent home. It took most of two years to build our home and my husband actually did much of the work. As I observed all the woodwork I could not help but remember all the hours we spent staining each panel, door, and drawer with our own hands. We scurried through each room in frenzy but if it makes any sense there was a strange calmness surrounding me. Floods of memories rushed into my mind including social events, Christmas mornings, funny pranks my son and husband would love to play on mom. It was almost like I could hear the laughter as well as a few of the tears shed throughout the years. Oh if walls could talk, they could write a novel.
My friends would gently and kindly come to me, touch me on the shoulder or take my hand and asked questions about what items would be the most important to remove but what was amazing was their intuitiveness. I heard one friend say “Grab that blanket over the chair in the living room. It looks used and worn. I bet it is someone’s favorite.”
The final word echoed from the front gate. “Tell everyone to move away from the house.” So as ordered we left my home and for a while stood with my friends, on the side of the road outside the property. I found out later that a firefighter told someone in our group that the chance of my home being saved was slim to none. But I think I already knew that deep down inside. As we congregated hot, sweaty, and tired there was not the expected gloom and despair one might think but a celebration and attitude of gratefulness was occurring. At that moment I question came to mind. “Jenny if you had to choose at this very moment to save the house and lose your precious friends or keep your friends and watch the house burn to the ground, which would you choose? There was no debating or contemplation in my mind. I could not imagine living a lonesome life without my precious brothers and sisters in Christ.
It was not a coincidence that our fortune changed when a helicopter from Temple, Texas came to drop water and the wind shifted slightly. God can work in wonderfully mysterious ways.