Over six years ago. People always say that as though it seems like yesterday, but not me. Mine seems like forever. It seems like forever since that awful night that God rescued our family from the fire. That horrible night two days before Christmas when we were all sound asleep in our beds. No smoke alarms went off. No noise at all. Just God reaching down and shaking both mine and my husband’s shoulders at the same time. “Wake up and get out now.”
Six babies sleeping peacefully when we leaped out of the bed not knowing what was wrong but certain that there was danger. Hustling sleepy little ones out into the cold night only in their pjs. Sitting in the car and watching our five-year-old daughter’s bed burn to a crisp not five minutes after we got out. Losing it. Crying and screaming at what almost happened but didn’t.
Then came the blessings. The wonderful community of Springfield reaching out and loving on our family. Gift cards, money, clothes, offers of housing, furniture, prayers and love started pouring in faster than we could keep track. Friends and family, churches and even complete strangers stepping in and making sure our family needed or wanted nothing. Crying, laughing and marveling at the generosity. Rebuilding our home and our life, collecting and gathering to replace the crazy things you didn’t even know you had but now you need took many years. In some ways, it’s almost a little fun (in a weird sort of way) to start over again, but in more ways, it’s tough. Tougher to learn to feel safe.
All these years later and I still struggle going to bed every December 22. I still find myself reading my blog post several times a year crying with the memories. I never want to not remember. I never want to forget the miracle.