As you all know-we were evacuated due to a fire that was about a mile away from our house. At the very end of our subdivision there is lots of grassy fields where the fire was. It was quite a scary moment. It all happened so quickly that I felt like I was in a movie. We were driving home from school (which is on the other side of town) and could see this huge plume of smoke. I checked it out on my news app and realized it was off from 191 & 1788-tome that means Odessa-no biggie. As I was getting closer to my house there was a light smoke around us which continue to get thicker as I got closer and closer to home.
I pulled onto Midland drive from Wall St. and could barely see a few blocks down the road at the Thomason intersection. It all seemed so close but I was still thinking Odessa-but wow! Bill was in Odessa working trying to get home. At this point 191 was closed so he was looking for an alternate route. So, I pulled into our driveway and ran inside to do our normal after school routine but put the tv on to see what was going on. Then it was like minutes later that the fire jumped and part of our subdivision was being evacuated. I checked with my neighbors to see what they were doing and on my way back in my mom called and I just lost it for a brief moment on the phone. She was telling ke just to leave not to worry about getting things-just get out! Smoke was all around me, I had specks of ashes on my skin, I could hardly breath. So, I calmed down, got off the phone, and went inside & started to pack up a few things as Bill & I had always discussed.
I realized in that moment that nothing had any value to me. I had nothing of great value that I had to pack. I always thought I would bring the baby books, and pictures in a moments notice but I didn't. I grabbed a change of clothes for everyone, a couple toiletries, our computer, camera, camcorder, and 2 orders I needed to mail out for some customers. I also grabbed my box with all of our important papers in it. (at least I am a little organized with the things that matter) As I was bringing things out to the van our neighbor stopped over to see if I needed help with the kids but I assured her we were fine & about to leave. Gabe packed 2 backpacks, and Lily grabbed her blankies, her zebra & pluto. At this point I still had no idea how close Bill was to even getting home. I packed the kids into the van, grabbed both the dogs & headed to my mother in law's house.
As I backed out of my driveway-I lost it again. Just for a moment as I said a quick prayer & begged God for safety of our home & the fire fighters. I turned down the road & headed for Midland Drive. As I waited in line with my neighbors as we tried to exit the area I realized how crazy it all was. I was going through my first fire evacuation without Bill, my dogs were both whimpering in the van, Gabe was asking questions, Lily was whining for the music to be louder, cars every where, smoke every where...and then I finally made it out onto Midland Drive. I tried to call Bill-no service! Seriously, I felt like I stepped out of a movie. I had little, black, ashes all over my clothes & skin. I was sitting bumper to bumper in traffic trying to escape.
The cops had all the major roads blocked off to my left. After waiting for over 20 minutes we finally made it a few blocks through the Illinois intersection-we were free & clear to get to my MIL's house to wait out the evacuation! Bill still on his way home-finally arrived at the house-picked up a few things he wanted to get & said he couldn't see 5 houses down because the smoke was so thick. I am so glad we left!
During the midst of this all-I realized how sometimes when we feel like we have no friends or are all alone-we get stuck in the woe is me-every body hates me-guess I'll go eat worms-type perspective-we are so wrong. We received so many texts & phone calls from our friends saying that they were praying for us. That there homes were open if we needed them. They were here for us. We felt so blessed. So loved. So grateful for all of our friends around us.
Once the evacuations were lifted, we waited a little longer for some of the smoke to dissipate and we finally came home. It was a long, emotional, night. But the things that really truly mattered the most to me were standing right in front of me the whole night. What else matters? Nothing!
Thank you God for sparing our homes & for refreshing our perspectives on what is important in this life. Please God send us rain-we desperately need it!
For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away...James 4:14