I spent the day soaking in the insane heat of the Colorado sun today. I worked in the yard picking out of the rocks every little weed I could find, watering the flowers I bought and planted on Saturday—the day the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out—and labeling things in the garage. I was in denial. Certainly this danger would be like the hurricanes we dodged in Ft. Lauderdale, FL or the tornadoes that skirted past us in Aurora, IL. We would scurry around preparing things only to find that we piled all our stuff in the middle of the floor for a false alarm or huddled in the basement with wide eyes only for our vegetable garden to get rained on.
I decided a couple days ago that if I saw the flames come up over the ridge that it would be time to go. But when I saw the first glimpse of flames…not coming from behind, but already an inch down the mountain, I couldn’t believe it. Is it really time? Could this be happening? I was, well, what is the word? Dumbstruck, amazed, entranced…the power of the flames was like watching a storm approach and I could barely take my eyes off “my” perfectly triangular mountain outlined in burning trees. “My” mountain. How many other people look out their window at breakfast and consider it their own mountain?
I looked around the house. Sure I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this place. Many times I wanted to escape the walls, the endless stairs, the million little things that need to be fixed, cleaned and replaced. But I certainly didn’t want anything bad to happen to it. So many memories and experiences happened here. So much pain—and growth—came with it as a backdrop. I know the sounds, the smells and the light of this house and it’s become a comfort to me. Seven years ago I moved in one person, and today I escaped another.
As I drove away, I checked the garage door a second time as is required when you have my personality. It didn’t matter that the door is broken and only closes when you override the sensor from inside the house. There’s no way it could have been open, but I wanted it to be safe—checking was all I could do.
And now checking is what I can’t do. I don’t want to see our neighborhood swallowed up by that mighty flame. So here I am on the floor with my computer—procrastinating. I just don’t want to check anymore.
We are all settled at Jon's parents' house in Palmer Lake. Sky is chirping on her swing, Cheerio is sleeping on a yellow towel and the kids are in the next room dreaming (I hope) of Phineas and Ferb. I kissed their clean little heads (we had to wash all the smoke smell off of us. I don't think I am going to enjoy a campfire for a long while!) I am so thankful that we’re all here. It will be even better when Jon and our oldest daughter come back to Colorado from Illinois on Thursday and we are ALL together.
I can't believe how blessed we are. We had to leave our home today, but God provided a place where we can shower, go to Walmart to buy our son new sandals (he got in the van without shoes!), have dinner, and watch a beautiful sky at dusk as the crushing heat seeps away. It's hard to believe there is a fire at all with the clear air and the nice conversation we had. I am glad.
The news was on when I came upstairs after talking to Jon on the phone. I saw a snippet of the houses in the neighborhood across from ours burning and I could barely stand it. Oh, God. Please provide…you always do. So why do we doubt? Because we think we have a better way? Because we want it our way? Yes, that is it for me. So God, if you choose to allow our house to burn, I thank you that you will provide in the way that you see fit. Perhaps it is that you show me a way to cope—and grow—through this. Perhaps it is the peace you have given me this whole day—the peace that passes understanding. Whatever your provision, I want to accept it because you know what is best, and I trust you. Amen.