As I load these pictures and scan through them I can smell smoke. It's on my hands and in my hair. It wafts in my office door from the living room. I get up and check even though I know it is only in my mind.
This happens more frequently than I'd like to admit.
Sometimes it's the smell that comes to me, other times it's the crackling of the water system, the light fog from our humidifiers, or the flicker of tail lights in the window. I smell, hear, or see the fire on almost a daily basis.
Today is the 1-year anniversary. While December 10th sticks in my mind because it is the last day we had in our house, it was the night we went to sleep before our lives were forever changed, officially it was 1 am December 11th that the "incident" occurred.
My plan was to have written the story to start sharing it with you, in its entirety, today. Unfortunately that just hasn't happened. Work deadlines, Christmas preparations, life, has just gotten in the way lately and the thought of needing to write it, to sit down and put myself back there, is causing me stress. So it's going to have to wait. In the New Year I anticipate the pace to slow around here, just a little, and I promise I will write it then.
I ran across these pictures on my computer last night and thought I'd share them with you. I don't look at these often but when I do I'm always gently reminded of what matters most. The shell of our house remained standing despite several hours of flames torching everything on the inside. The main living area of the house was literally dust when the fire was finally put out. There's a metaphor here, I'm certain of it. Maybe more than one. And it's fitting that this happened right before a special religious holiday.
If we had the ability to strip it all away, remove everything in our lives, material possessions, children, family, friends, and were left standing as an empty shell of ourselves what would we choose to fill ourselves and our lives back up with?
This has been an exceptionally difficult year as we've struggled to put our lives back together and battled through depression, night terrors, and panic attacks. But in some ways I'm grateful for the experience. I'm grateful that my relationship with my husband is stronger, I'm grateful for each day I get to spend with my kids and the extra special blessing of Nolan's arrival, I'm grateful for all of those who offered us assistance and aid, who reached out to us in many circumstances when they didn't even know us. I am in awe of people on a daily basis. Life is good. People are good. God is good. And when it is all striped away, these are all that matter.
|Keaton & Hutton's nursery the day after the fire. All I see when I look at this picture is the outline of the cross on the wall. And that's all I want to see. That's all I need to see.|