Sleepless nights are so irratating, but last night sleep just wouldn't come. I had been following news and facebook posts about the wildfires in Texas and New Mexico. The fires were too close to home. The community of Ira (about four miles from our place) was evacuated. Reports were that several of our neighbors had close calls, but the firefighters had saved their homes. (When you live in the country, just about everybody is your neighbor.)
Our house is surrounded by 3 ft tall pasture grass on three sides and across the road - so yes, we were a little concerned. Being in Louisiana, there's not a thing we could do. Several people offered to plow, etc, but Ted had shredded a deep fire line when he was home in November. It was just time to trust God.
I still couldn't go to sleep. I tossed and turned - got up and down - checked facebook until everybody else had signed off. I prayed for everybody I could think of. I confessed every sin I could imagine. I praised God for His "lovingkindness and tender mercies". But sleep still wouldn't come. I wasn't even thinking about the house.
I had posted a prayer request on facebook and after some sweet responses, I posted again that really, it was just a house. I was bothered that someone might think I was being to flippant about the wildfires. I thought through that whole thing and came to some conclusions.
First of all - my house is just a house. My children were raised there, so it holds all kinds of memories. It keeps the pictures and scrapbooks and heirloom quilts. My parents oak table is there. That table has hosted birthday parties, fed preachers, helped with craft projects, held fabric, patterns and scissors, and watched over my homework. Yes, it is irreplacable. But it is still just a house. I know that losing a home would be financially and emotionally devastating. But it's still just a house.
A long, long time ago in another life, our lawn caught on fire. While I was outside with a waterhose trying to keep two cords of firewood from burning, Heather called her Granny with news that our house was on fire. I heard sirens and looked up to see 2 firetrucks and 15 volunteer firemen coming to my aid. They all knew me and really gave me a hard time, but I had it under control!
It's still just a house. Losing a house is nothing compared to losing a life.
Somewhere in the night I realized that my tossing and turning was not about me or my house, but about my neighbors. It was concern for all those 20 miles away in Colorado City who were evacuated and those daddys, husbands and sons were out trying to save their towns. It was about the 20+ families around Amarillo who were suddenly homeless and for the family who lost a child in Midland and the firefighter who was burned somewhere out by I-20.
I remembered that Jesus advised us, not to store up treasures on earth because, he said, our hearts will be where our treasures are. (Matthew 6:19-20) Being away from home for so long has made that house less and less of a treasure to me - it's given me a new perspective.
I think I heard God say - "YES! She's finally starting to get it!" And sleep came.
I remembered the family a few years ago who lost everything in a house fire. The house and everything in it was a total loss, but the family was safe. The fire made front page news and the mama was quoted as saying it was the first time in years her ironing was caught up. Just gotta love her!