A Fire, the Dog and a Basket of Junk Mail

You always hear people talking about what items they would grab from their home if there was ever a fire. With only minutes to get out of your house losing everything you own, what would you save? I’ve pondered this question numerous times over the years and assuming the family was all safe, I figured I’d reach for items like the kids’ baby books, photo albums, wedding photos, other precious mementos that can’t be replaced.

But evidently I was completely wrong.

Running from a burning house on Saturday I didn’t grab any of those things.

I was lying in bed relaxing with a cup of coffee my husband had so graciously brought me. He was working with the dryer lint trap cleaning guy (not sure of his official title). Halfway through my coffee and blissfully unaware of what was going on only feet outside my door, the smoke alarms started squealing. What did I do? Turned the TV up and wondered what was taking Eric so long to shut them off.

Minutes later he burst in our room telling me to quickly get out of the house and my mind went blank. As he explained the dryer had burst into flames, I forgot my “What if the House is on Fire” plan. I didn’t think a thing about saving precious memories as I raced to my closet for pants. As I grabbed a shirt, I made sure I selected a jacket as well. It was 90 degrees at 9am so why I thought I needed a jacket is beyond me. Still no thoughts of wedding mementos or baby books.

Covering my face and trying to remember my elementary school fire safety training, I raced down the stairs and out the door. When I looked down, I realized I left all 42 pairs of my shoes inside. Of course, I went back in. Are you kidding me? As I crawled back into the smoke-filled house, I thought of the dog locked in my office.

Now let me pause right here and let that sink in. I THOUGHT OF THE DOG. For those of you who know me, you know blame well I am not so fond of dogs, not even the one that lives in my home. Yet, here I am dashing into a burning building to save the dog. SAVE THE DOG. I can hardly believe it myself but rest assured I will get plenty of mileage out of the fact that I SAVED THAT DOG.

I can see the headlines: Cape Wearing Mom Saves Dog from Burning Building. I may even wear a button for the next month, year, decade… “I saved the dog. New wardrobe earned.” Oh the possibilities….

So back to my burning house, as I was saving the dog I also snagged my purse and car keys for both cars. That leads me to the last thing I saved from our homestead… the junk mail. The keys to one of the cars were stuck on a handle of the basket we place our mail in. When I couldn’t get them loose, I just took the whole basket with me as the firefighters darted up the stairs of our home.

When my mind became less cluttered and my heart beat slowed to a normal pace, I looked at the only items I took from our smoke-filled abode. Unbelievable. Not one photo, not one memento… I stood on the sidewalk with a basket of junk mail, my nemesis the dog and a jacket. Wow.

I need to be more prepared.

We never know when emergencies will arise. We never know when temptations will come to knock us off our course.

As Jesus prayed in the garden before the soldiers came, He instructed His disciples to pray. Jesus knew Peter would face a great trial. He knew he would need to be strengthened and prepared. But Peter did not pray as instructed and he was unable to withstand the attack against him. Peter wept bitterly when he denied Jesus the third time knowing too late what Jesus had been trying to prepare him for.

Spending time with the Lord in prayer and studying the Word is our preparation for life’s twists and turns. It’s how we stay “plugged in”, fully charged and ready to face life’s challenges and opportunities. It’s how we are led to choose wisely instead of easily led astray. If we’re prepared, we seize what’s important and not the basket of junk mail.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

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14 thoughts on “A Fire, the Dog and a Basket of Junk Mail”

  1. Hehe..at least you saved the dog!! 🙂

    And…were the cars IN the garage??? Because you wouldn’t need the keys if the whole house, including the junk mail basket, burned and the cars were in the garage!! Just sayin’! 🙂

  2. April, it is amazing how you take something so incredibly serious, make it so funny and then lead us to Jesus with it. Wow! You are so talented. Our home burned 6 years ago. I left barefooted, no purse, carrying a very sick baby screaming all the way through the yard as the windows were bursting out in our basement for the 3 year old behind me. I thought the gas was going to make the whole house blow before we ever got out of the yard. The dogs were on their own. Thankfully, some photographs were salvaged through the ash – they may be burnt round the edges and have water damage in places, but I treasure them all the same. I am glad you all are safe! I had to keep my eyes on the big picture and God was very gracious and helped me to do that.

  3. Oh, you made me laugh, I could see it all in my mind. Years ago, the “brain box” on my brand new dryer caught fire. I called the fire department and managed to put it out before they got there. I didn’t even think about grabbing anything. I guess, if it had got the best of me, I would have just run out the door with nothing in my hands! (I was dressed) I’m glad you are alright and the dog has lived to be a thorn in your side. 🙂

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