So I randomly called my Aunt Shirley today, to ask her about a particularly yummy recipe of hers, to see if it freezes well. She and my mother drove separately to my Aunt Bobbie's home in Nashville, to meet for a week of fun, so I knew that while I was on with my Aunt, I'd probably have a quick chat with my mom. They all arrived last evening in Nashville.

Here's a little glimpse into my routine. So when I know that Mom is heading out of a town on a trip, I always try to call one last time. She usually leaves at the crack of 4am or something ludicrous like that, so I aim for the evening before, just to hear her voice, just to say goodbye and that I love her and for her to be safe and have a great trip. I've done that for as long as I can remember. And this time I didn't do that. Jack and I were out late {she's an hour ahead of our time zone} and by the time we got in Saturday night I knew she'd be sound asleep for hours and I knew that I had a chance to sleep in the following morning so I figured I'd just catch her on Monday.

And so when Aunt Shirley answered the phone she instantly said, "Darlin', my phone is about to die in case we get cut off." {or something like that} So I immediately told her I just had a quick question about her million dollar spaghetti recipe and if it freezes or not and if I could put it in a 9x13 pan. She then hesitantly asked "Did you get the email from Dawn about last night?"

Hmmm? No email here.

Long story short. Mom and Aunt Shirley were in guest rooms upstairs and Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Phil were in their room on the main floor of their Nashville home. Around midnight they heard an incredible clap of thunder which woke them all up {Aunt Shirley happened to still be awake, Mom was sound asleep.}. Mom said she jumped out of bed because it was that loud, but then got back in bed, not thinking much of it. Meanwhile, Aunt Shirley got up and looked out her window, only to see smoke. So she went downstairs to tell Uncle Phil, who in turn got up and saw fire coming out of the chimney. By this time my mom was awake and she and Aunt Shirley both decided to change into regular clothes and then 911 told them to get out of the house. So they did and within just a few minutes of getting out of the house the roof collapsed. Had they lingered much longer, they would not be with us.

It was one of those phone calls where you're on the other end saying out loud to no one in particular, "NO WAY. REALLY? OH MY. ARE YOU OKAY? IS ANYONE HURT? WHERE ARE YOU NOW? IS EVERYTHING GONE?"

The three ladies had the presence of mind to grab their purses, with car keys, {and my mom's passport and paperwork to get back into Canada} and as mom rounded the corner of the house to move her car she looked up and saw the flames shooting well above the huge trees, which she said was terrifying.

I found myself thinking about this all day long, so thankful that Mom, Aunt Shirley, and Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Phil are alive and okay. My heart breaks for all that Aunt Bobbie lost and yet the reality is, most stuff can be replaced. People can't. {Albeit my first thought was, "All their family pictures." You know me and pictures. That made me cry, just the thought of her losing her pictorial family history.}

But in true DePoyster form, throughout the day the three of them found themselves laughing. I'm sure one of them probably said, "Well, I wanted to go on a clothes shopping spree, but just didn't think of doing it this way!" Another probably said, "This is a great way to get a McDonald's Diet Coke at 3am." And my guess is they've laughed about Aunt Bobbie being on National television in her pyjamas.

Mom said the neighbors have been unbelievably supportive and helpful, bringing over clothes, offering their homes to stay in, stopping to just ask how they can help. That Southern hospitality - it's beautiful.

As a little aside, do you remember the huge flooding problem in Nashville back in May? Ya, Aunt Bobbie's lower level was destroyed in that and they just recently finished the renovations. Mercy.

So, it's been a rough year for Aunt Bobbie. If you think of it, would you stop and pray for them today? That insurance would cover their losses. That peace would reign in their hearts. That the trauma of this event wouldn't have lingering effects.

It wasn't until I got off the phone with Mom this afternoon that it hit me. If Aunt Shirley hadn't been awake and hadn't gotten up to just look out her window, they might not have made it out in time. And I'm not the type that worries much or thinks up elaborate scenarios of what could have happened. I just choose to not waste time that way. And yet, the reality is, they're alive because Aunt Shirley hadn't fallen asleep yet.

While I hate that my Aunt lost her home - I absolutely hate that for her - my perspective is much larger tonight. I'm so grateful to the Lord that they're all alive. I'm reminded of a verse that brought much comfort to me at night, while I lived in Indonesia.

Psalm 4:8 says, "I will lie down and sleep in peace. For you alone, O Lord, will help me to dwell in safety."

{This picture below was from their visit to Chicago last September.}

{Here are the links to a few news clips from the fire. Here or here or here.}


Cleary said…
Thank you God that they are all okay. Thank you Alysa for sharing and for keeping life in perspective for us. Praying...
Grayson said…
so grateful that all are ok...i will keep them in my thoughts thank god.
Kim said…
Glad everyone is okay - what a scare I'm sure!

Popular Posts