A distant noise persisted on awakening me in the middle of the night. As dreams slowly gave way to reality, I rolled over and whispered to my husband, “do you hear that noise? What is it?”
He considered the situation for half a moment before springing out of bed, handing me the Glock. He grabbed his rifle and prepared to come face to face with the danger. He opened the door, slowly at first, but was able to recognize the intruder much sooner than expected. The door flew open. “Oh, fire!” he boldly proclaimed, dropping the firearm and running to the kitchen.
Clouded with confusion, curiosity, and fear I ran after him, pausing momentarily to witness a scene found only in my childhood nightmares and television screens. Flames licked toward the ceiling. I finally realized what the faint, annoying beeping sound was. Smoke broke the flashing contrast between darkness and light. The fire was concentrated on the thermostat, but I remembered what my father-in-law told me about how quickly fire spreads. We couldn’t waste a minute. I pushed through the shock and burst of emotions and ran after my husband into the kitchen.
Silas moved through the smoky kitchen in a swift flash. Leaving the empty pitcher to fill with water, he brushed past me with something in hand. Why is he leaving while the pitcher is still filling? The water slowly filled the jug. Oh, the bathroom! He must be getting water from the bathroom! Feeling desperate to help, I grabbed a cup from the cupboard and chased after him. But he wasn’t in the bathroom, he was already putting out the fire. I looked at my empty cup with relief.
One Day Earlier . . .
I made a quick trip to the store to stock up on the essentials. Bread? Check. Peanut butter? Check. Vegetables for fresh salsa? Check. Check. Check. As I passed the refrigerated section I recalled a simple request for raspberry lemonade. I’ve always had a love for lemonade, and claimed flavored lemonade was never any good, until I met Silas. He has a knack for high quality beverages, and when he brought home raspberry Simply Lemonade a few weeks ago I had to admit that he was right: flavored lemonade is indeed delicious. Smiling to myself, I grabbed a bottle to surprise him at supper time after a hard day’s work.
It was a normal day.
I greeted him when he came home and fixed supper while he took his uniform off. We enjoyed our meal, sharing stories from the day and enjoying a glass of the sweet, pulpy drink. I put the jug back in the fridge, the remaining lemonade’s fate left unassuming.
Quenching More than Thirst
My hero left the charred mess to hold me close and gently urge me out of the door. The fire’s ambitions were no match to my husband’s adrenaline-filled skills, but the house was filled with smoke so thick the alarm wouldn’t stay off. I praised God for waking us up, for Silas’ quick thinking and protective reflexes, and for the firefighters coming to check the house.
When the house was clear, we gathered a few belongings and drove to a nearby hotel. I was still unaware of how he was able to put out the fire so quickly. It was less than 60 seconds from when he turned the knob to when the fire was completely silenced. Silas is handy with just about any tool you give him, and can improvise like no one else I know. (Before I had an electric mixer, he attached my wooden spoon to his cordless drill in order for me to make cookies!) So, when he asked me what I thought he used to put out the fire, there was no telling what his creative mind grabbed in the split second he had.
“I used the lemonade to put out the fire!” he smiled.
The heavy cloud over the situation parted as my nose crinkled and a belly laugh erupted. “Are you serious?!” My fears melted away as I thanked God for a hilarious hero of a husband and delicious, fire-quenching lemonade.
The day following the fire was an emotional roller coaster. I wanted answers. I wanted to know why the thermostat caught on fire. I was overwhelmed by the smell of burnt plastic and ashes I found not only in the room the fire was in, but in our bedroom, the office, even the fridge. I was frustrated that I let my emotions get the best of me several times, snapping at the husband who protected me just the night before.
But at the end of the night, he held me close, with nothing but forgiveness, understanding, and love. He calmed my worries by pointing me back to the God who truly saved us. The God who aligned everything perfectly to protect me that night, with a working fire alarm, a quick-footed husband, and lemonade that somehow put out an electrical fire with ease. Silas reminded me that God wasn’t done protecting us, and would be with us through the cleaning of the mess we were in.
Although we still have insurance claims to navigate, ash to get cleaned up, and are living out of a hotel until the house is deemed safe, all we can be is simply grateful – for we have a God who uses everything – even house fires – for good.
What good can come out of a house fire?
- A strengthened marriage: Silas and I learned that working together well isn’t something that doesn’t come without any effort at all. And nothing helps you grow as a team like trying situations that push you past your limits.
- Strengthened friendships: We are so incredibly grateful for those who came to support and comfort us after this freak incident – and grateful for those who reached out to us through calls and texts
- A good story: Nothing can help you heal from a scary situation quite like some good ole fashioned comic relief. The jokes can simply never be appreciated quite like they are in a time like this
- A strengthened faith: God has proven himself faithful yet again – and by pushing me into the unknown he has reminded me to hold loosely to the things of this earth, that he can be trusted, and to be grateful for every chance I get here to glorify him and make him known.
I Simply Ask of You
Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home. Check to make sure they work, every year. If you rent a home, be sure you have a renter’s insurance policy in place with an agency that will take care of you in an emergency – it’s not that expensive and it’s so, so worth it. If you find yourself in the aftermath of a house fire, give yourself some breathing space the day after. The first 24 hours after the fire proved to be the most emotional for me. Every hour that passed thereafter I was able to think more clearly about the situation, but I still was dependent upon the support of the people I love. Finally, your feelings and emotions have validity to them, but you can’t allow yourself to stay in fear. There is something to be thankful for in every situation; meditate on these things more than you worry, and you will make it through the smoke before you realize you’re out of lemonade.