To be honest, I don’t want to talk about this. Talking about it and even the mere thought of typing it out EXHAUSTS me.
But I don’t feel I can really talk about anything else at the moment either.
I’m warning you now: this blog will be messy. Please bear with me.
Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t blog last week (I’m sure no one noticed, I’m just saying that to feel cool). That’s because my condo caught on fire.
3:30pm Sunday October 30, I was upstairs with my mom, aunt and my friend — I just started working with this amazing, all vegan brand called Arbonne (that’s another blog in and of itself, but check out the products), and I was throwing my launch party.
My neighbor bursted in my front door and said, “there’s a fire in my garage. get out now.”
I ran to the backdoor and looked to see my neighbors garage in flames. Our garage is connected to his as well as all of our other neighbors, but our garages are not attached to our condos. I grabbed some shoes and ran outside, I didn’t think it would take long for the fire department to get there and I didn’t think it would spread to the houses.
I was wrong.
It took 15 minutes for the fire department to get there.
People wouldn’t move their cars and a fire truck wrecked with a car THAT WOULDN’T MOVE FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES.
People may not have lost their houses IF PEOPLE WOULD HAVE MOVED.
Neighbors came running out of their houses. A man came running around the corner. He broke down doors of people who weren’t home and got their pets out. I’m so thankful for him. I found out later he was a volunteer firefighter. He was truly a hero to our neighborhood that day.
I’ll never forget the sound of the cars exploding in the garages. First my neighbors. Then ours. Then others. That sound haunts me still every time I close my eyes. It started spreading to the houses.
We watched my neighbors roof go up in flames and that’s when we realized this was serious. We started calling friends, family, asking them to pray. The wind blew. I’ll never understand it but the wind blew away from our condo. Our roof never caught on fire.
At this point there was only one thought in my mind: Mumford. My hedgehog. He was still inside. I couldn’t breathe. I was praying he’d be ok, or if he died he didn’t suffer. I could barely stand up. People were on the phone praying over me and my family.
It seemed like centuries but after what I’m sure was 10 or 15 minutes the fire was under control. I asked a fire man to go inside and check on Mumford. Only a moment later he emerged carrying Mumford’s cage, “he’s moving! he’s ok!”
Sweet, momentary relief.
Then they said, “we’re going to drill holes in your roof to see if the fire spread into the attic.” I watched as they cut into our roof and my neighbors roofs.
I felt so helpless and all I could do was sing,
“in the chaos, in confusion, I know You’re sovereign still.” (song).
I knew, no matter what happened, even if I lost everything, God was still sovereign and I would be okay.
A few hours later we were allowed inside to get necessities for the night.
My room, my bed is destroyed. The insulation is covering my room like a fluffy blanket, in and on everything. All my clothes smell like smoke. But I was able to get everything I needed for the night. We stayed with my aunt.
As silly as it sounds, one of the things I was really worried about was my laptop. It’s a 2010 MacBook. It’s in great condition but if I lost it, I wouldn’t have gotten enough to replace it. I had left it on top of my bed, on the shelf. I saw the debris and figured it was destroyed. I was poking through the debris with a coat hanger and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched for a while and then randomly opened a desk drawer and found that one of the fire fighters had so kindly moved it to a safe place before they drilled into the ceiling. That was a ray of sunshine in this chaos.
The next day we went back and saw the damage to the back of the condos.
Our insurance has paid for us to be in a hotel for a couple weeks and for now that’s where we are.
As far as what’s next:
For me, I’d already signed a lease to a new apartment with a really sweet roommate and was planning on moving in in the end of November/early December. I’m not sure when exactly I can move in as my bed is destroyed and my furniture needs cleaned, but I know I have a place to live. My parents still aren’t 100% sure where they will go, but there are options.
Friends have surrounded me so beautifully and wonderfully during this difficult season. My community group has showered me with love and encouragement. My coworkers have given me gift cards and have been so kind to me. People have offered to help us move. I have not, for one moment, felt alone. Friends from states (and even continents) away have sent cards, gifts and sweet text messages.
I have felt truly and deeply loved in this. One of the toughest things that I’ve been through has brought forth the most beautiful display of love.
This is far from over, but I know it’s going to be ok.
In the chaos,
I know You’re sovereign still.