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One night…while we were away from home… August 4th to be exact, around 9:40 p.m., I got a call that changed my life. It was one of those calls that belong to someone else. They never happen to you. But it did. A fire. Flames engulfed our house. The whole inside was aglow with a hot brightness that could not be approached until finally, horrifically, roof, walls, floors gave way; not so much imploding as transforming into chars and embers until it was a pile of black rubble.

At first, shock. Then tears. More shock and unreal feelings. I saw pictures; I heard the stories, but yet it didn’t seem true. As the truth-the stark, naked facts soaked in, they had to be faced: All I owned were 4 days of clothing and some travel-sized belongings.

I was glad I didn’t see it happen. I was glad we weren’t there or maybe we would have been hurt or even dead. I was glad I didn’t have to watch helplessly as everything I had collected, everything I had been gifted, everything I treasured from generations past, was smoldering in a heap of rubble. We were blessed to be miles away; not present at this event or we might have been striving to salvage things that although precious to us did not define us. Who knows what “might” have happened but didn’t happen and I find myself grateful for life, for safety. Grief and relief welling up simultaneously as strains of “I will Praise You in This Storm” (Casting Crowns) resound in my head.

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