“Fire!” Quite the call to get while at work. I was in a meeting and heard my phone blowing up, so I finally decided to pick it up. “Wes, I got a call from your alarm company,” from my father-in-law causally said. This led me to call my neighbor who called multiple times previously. When I called Jeff back, he asked, “Are you sitting down?” 

I bolted home as fast as traffic would allow while trying to reach Sherry by phone. You can’t exactly interrupt a therapy session with, “You’re husband called and it’s an emergency about a fire.”

Both Sherry & I could only imagine what happened while we drove home separately. Because of this, when we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised multiple times over. It didn’t look too bad. Just stuff smoked out pretty bad. Relatively little was burnt. Granted the smoke looked demolishing in some areas, but the fire didn’t leave any marks in the house. There was a potent, tear-inducing smoke that resided throughout the house, but I thought it might clear out with windows open for a bit. I even texted some folks we’d probably sleep there that night.

6 days later, all I can say is, “Wow, were we naive!” Apparently it was a slow news day because the local abc affiliate was there taking pictures and the Sacramento Bee got in on the action. The tragedy of the chicks repeatedly took center stage as we were used like the bad kid on timeout as an example of what NOT to do. More than one friend even responded with seeing the news from helicopter coverage.

Good grief! 

What swirls in our brains is some of the following:

  • So many blessings to count
  • Everyone is safe and healthy
  • We were assigned both a possessions and reconstruction adjuster, the latter we’ve met and couldn’t be more pleased
  • We’ve hired a restoration company and reconstruction company after interviewing/meeting over a dozen
  • Sherry was blessed with this past week off and then her co-workers pitched in their vacation time for another week off
  • Both of our employers have been very understanding
  • We’re staying in a very nice long-term stay inn
  • The inn has free breakfast
  • Grandma Great has worked major laundry magic
  • We’ve connected with friends who had a much more severe house fire and they have been super supportive
  • We are finding communities that are quickly embracing us in ways we could not otherwise imagine
  • We know that in the long term, we will be better off in many ways
  • We live close to family
  • We had stuff to lose
  • It’s just stuff
  • Sherry spent at least 24 hours the previous two weekends organizing the garage, giving 15 bags of clothes to Goodwill and some other clothes to friends
  • Our neighbors rock
  • The fire department showed up quickly
  • We keep finding memories that we are shocked to find

Amazing! You see so much to be thankful for in these times, despite the craziness that it all brings. We know hundreds–if not more than a thousand–decisions will need to be made, so the chaos will only pick up, but we want to have a perspective that is on the “momentary afflictions” (2 Cor. 4:17) and reality that this “tent” is not our home (2 Cor. 5:1). Heaven is real and this world is but a blink.

Want to help? Visit “On Fire” for some ways to allow God’s blessings to continue in this adventure.


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