Thursday, July 20, 2006

Before Bluebird Cove 3: Lightning Strikes The Refuge

About a year and a half after beginning this internet business at our home we called "The Refuge," lightning struck the house and started a fire in the attic, which took us 20 minutes to discover since we kept attributing the smell of smoke to a tree that had fallen out back from lightening.

As I ran to call 911 we realized it took out the phone lines so we could not call. We had the "required fire extinguisher" from the shop which saved our home. Randal took it to the attic and with much prayer, it shot foam much farther than it was designed to do. He got the fire down to the attic floor and then ran to neighboring homes for a telephone to call the fire department. Running back in the pouring rain after going to three homes before finding somebody home, he hurried back to the attic to battle the fire again.

With my asthmatic history, it only took five seconds for me to be choking and have to leave the attic leaving behind the smaller fire extinguisher that I had taken up. I was totally helpless in this endeavor, which took its toll on my otherwise strong and determined nature. Feeling helpless was not my style and I was so rattled and horrified, I couldn't even think of one Scripture to stand on. I initially began running to get things out of the house until I realized that it was a futile effort to determine what was most important to me. Deciding between what I wanted to save and what I wanted to "allow" to burn.

I grabbed a Bible from the living room bookshelf where I stood frozen with fear and went to Psalm 91. I sat on the floor and read those words with as much Faith as I had in my entire being and then some that Jesus dumped in to fill the missing portion. I said those words knowing they were the Truth ... that the thoughts in my mind were lies. The fireman came and entered as I continued to read Psalm 91. They couldn't go into the attic without going back out for gas masks ... The same attic that Randal had spent so much time in spraying foam and praying for it to reach the back corner of the house from the small floored area where he stood.

He didn't have anything to cover his face and yet I hadn't heard him cough once. We were to discover upon review later, that the miracle that he wasn't coughing and choking up there wasn't the only one we would have. The fireman told us the house should've been "too far gone" in twenty minutes with that type of centrally-located hit of lightning. Stranger than that was the boxes we had stored in the attic. They were black from smoke and grey from extinguisher powder floating everywhere up there, but there was no evidence of the smell of smoke in the articles inside. We took them outside to see if we just couldn't smell and had others smell later.

Most of what we had was clothes and toys from Benjamin's childhood and books and magazines. He was an avid reader and his room never held all of his books, so we stored them in the attic. We had a hanging garment bag that held a wool coat and sweater. Only the sweater smelled of smoke, which State Farm paid to have dry cleaned.

The bolt hit our bedroom wall where I had a shadow box full of little items of memory and it was tossed across the 14' room with only one item broken. There was no water leaking although the roof had burned (not through), and no water damage because we asked the firemen if there was any way to put it out without water. Since Randal (through God) had done such a great job (he was asked to be part of the fire department), they were able to get it out without turning on the water for their hoses.

We had minor repairs and all telephones had to be replaced, but our computers were okay. State Farm was incredible and speedy through it all so we have been a great fan of them.

As we saw the painting being done, the roof being repaired and things looking like they were being "renewed" we got the idea that it might be a good time to put the house on the market and move to Tennessee. I think we both had been jolted into this idea and that we should seriously consider the good side of these fiery circumstances and what it could tell us.

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