By: Staci Stallings
For those of you who know I live in the Texas Panhandle, I’m okay. For those who don’t, I’m still okay.
Yesterday, the day after the 4th anniversary of the day our church burned to the ground, our house nearly did. The extensive fires that hit the Panhandle came less than a mile from our house. In fact, we were in the evacuation zone. The story is too long to tell here, but trust me, you really start to realize what is most important in that situation.
We had plenty of time to get out because the fire near us was in the canyon and thankfully never jumped the walls. Had it, our house would probably have gotten torched also. Think hell in 70 mile an hour winds. There was simply no controlling that thing.
Because it was relatively contained in the canyon with only a chance that it could jump and head our way, we had the chance to pack up some stuff. Each person got a suitcase of clothes–my kids all thought to bring their school uniforms for school on Monday. Then we pulled all of the family pictures off the walls, photo albums, family videos, and the computer. I grabbed some of my typed up books and our important papers. My mind kept going, “What can we not replace?” If it was irreplaceable, it went with us.
I’m still kind of curious what I will find in the next few months that we forgot to bring that I would really have missed, but overall, we did good. After everything was packed, I blessed our house and trees with Holy Water and my husband and I hugged in our living room and blessed the house. He decided to get the kids to do that too, so we had a family prayer meeting in our living room before we left. My son (who is 8) looked at me and said, “This is kind of weird, Mom.”
He was right. It was weird.
It was weird thinking it might not be there when you get back.
Thankfully, it was here when we got back.
Now comes the task of putting everything back where it was. Strange how I can’t remember exactly which picture goes where on walls that I have looked at every day for the last 15 years. Strange how I finally found my son’s 3 month old pictures that I couldn’t find anywhere when I looked for them a couple months back. Strange how a month ago my main computer started acting up, so I backed everything up on Carbonite and now that computer’s saying Windows is not on there… so I’m going to have to get it fixed, and who knows if my files will be there or not.
Strange how I’m not panicked about even that because God gave me a reason to back it all up before tragedy struck.
Strange… but oddly comforting too because it just feels like God has been lining up my steps to prepare when I didn’t even know that was coming.