Saturday, February 22, 2014

Delivered -Part Two

I began yesterday's post with a deep, philosophical reflection on the futility of neatly ordering ones worldly possessions in alphabetical order.

You know, the nesting thing.

I was becoming quite frustrated by the time spent cleaning to the time in which the kids had everything trashed ratio.  Come Saturday afternoon, I had completely surrendered.  The house had beaten me.  It would be enough if I could just get everyone packed.  Never mind that the floors were already nasty, food under the table, bathrooms sticky and several loads of laundry on the couch.  I knew in my heart I had done my best.  No one was going to be rummaging through my Final Frontier (the closets) anyways.

Let us return to the tender scene in LDR #2, St. Francis South...

Mother and Father spend a few moments alone with baby Ana.  We kiss and cuddle.  We pray and praise God for His amazing grace and goodness.  We wonder at this fresh work of creation staring back at us.

The door opened.  The nurse had come in to bathe Little One.  Then there was a knock, I pulled the sheet up to my chin and cheerily called for whoever it was to come in.  It was time for baby to meet the world!

Let me just say a word about my visitors.  I was so blessed to have so many people who love me all congregate in the waiting room to support us and greet Ana.  All my family that could had traveled to be with us and had been there for hours.  They had been busy praying and distracting each other during the tense hours of waiting.  My Mom, Anita, Grandparents, Bill and Joan, Aunt Brenda and Uncle Steve, siblings with spouses, Joanna & Clint, Daniel & Samantha, Paul with girlfriend Jeana, James with girlfriend Kelsey, my kids, Elle, Alvin, Dee and Cy, and my husband's parents, Ron and Joyce.  I think that was everyone...

Then there are my friends from church who filtered in after the morning service: The Cato family, who kept Alvin for me, Pastor J C and his family, who kept Cy and Dee the night before, The Hunt's, along with Natalie and Billy, The Fulton's (my sister's in-laws) and The Villandry's and Brown's who came that evening.

Let me tell ya, it was a party!  I have no idea how many people squeezed into the room at once.  There were at least 30 people in the waiting room!  It reminded me of a scene in the Marx Bro. movie, "A Night At The Opera".   I loved every minute of it!

It was about 4:30, we were chilling with a roomful of close friends and family.  I was snuggling Baby.  Life was perfect.  Rob took a call, stood up quickly and said "The house is on fire, I'm going home."

I laughed.  He is such a joker!  

"No, really.  There is a grassfire in the field behind the house.  I have to go and see what can be done."

And with that, he was gone.

And so was everyone else.

It was just me and mom and Ana in what suddenly became a vast and cavernous stillness.

I later heard it was a stampede to the elevators.   Mass chaos and all that.  I wish I could have seen it firsthand! 

Everyone jumped in their various automobiles and headed to the house.  Thick black smoke could be seen from the hospital, 10 miles away.  Robert passed a group of firetrucks headed to the scene, going 90 MPH on the turnpike.

When he arrived he could see the cowpasture behind our house was ablaze.  There was about 100 yards between the conflagration and our house.  The wind was from exactly the wrong direction (don't ask me what direction that would be).  Loss of house and home seemed imminent, so they started grabbing whatever they could of value in the house and throwing it into the vehicles.  Papers, clothes, pictures.  Joanna and Samantha found my box of mementos for my angel babies and rescued my wedding ring.  The Cato kids did their part, running out diapers and wipes.  Daniel and James helped with heavier stuff, like all our over-stuffed file folder drawers and hunting equipment and "irreplaceable" books.

A little after 6, the fire was knocked down.  Everyone then jumped in their cars, hightailed it to church and made it just in time for my brother, Paul's baptism.  After the baptism, the whole entourage returned again to our house to unload the cars and put everything away.  They tried so hard, knowing how obsessive I'd been about nesting, to return every item to it's proper place.  I have no idea how late they stayed up.  I was very grateful to hear the house was still standing and how we were so blessed by family and friends literally moving much of our possessions to safety.

The next morning was your typical, hospital sort of morning.  The nurse woke me up to draw my blood at 5 am.  I was worn out.  Not wanting to wake Rob, I had stayed up with Ana the whole night.  Now he needed to prepare for an important business call.  I set my phone on silence so he could concentrate.  After awhile I looked at my phone and realized I had missed a few calls.  And numerous texts.  And mom was calling me for the fifth time that very moment.  I took the call in the bathroom (Rob was in the middle of his Do-Not-Disturb call)

She sounded scared.  "Honey, the fire is back.  I can see the flames out the window.  What is important to you that I save?"  Uh, really, what is important at a time like that?  All I could think to say was, "You, mom!  Don't worry about anything, just walk out the door and leave.  Well, you could grab the black box with the gray handle.  That has our insurance papers.  But that's it.  I mean it."

Robert finished with his call about the same time that my brother, Paul showed up.  Paul drove him back home and all the people from our church that could turned out again to rescue our belongings.  They knew exactly where everything was and what was important to Rob.  Once again they ran  back and forth carrying out all they could hold.  Then they turned their attention to the fire line, which was the barbed wire fence at the back of our yard.  The neighbor's house was surrounded by flames.  The fire department did not think it could be saved, but Robert did his best to keep the flames out of their trees.  Clint and Paul and Billy were making fire breaks and wetting as much grass as they could.  Amy raked dead leaves away from the house.  And still the flames loomed closer.

I really wish I could have been there and seen it all.  I have tried to absorb the stories that were told as best I could.  I wish I had a picture of every person and every job they did so that I knew better who to thank for what.

I praise God for turning the wind so that the flames never even crossed the fence.  I thank Him for sparing both neighbor's house's.  That was a real miracle.  I'm thankful to all the firemen that fought all day, all week to beat the flames back.  That's right, there were flare ups all week.  I'm glad that Robert had a chance to praise God during an interview with a local news channel.  And for Faye, who sent Little Caeser's pizza over.  And my mom who bought even more pizza, candy bars and trail mix, water, gatorade and soda for all the laborers.  And most of all for my family.  Family by birth or by Spirit.  I love every single one of you.

When I came home, the living room was piled high with all that was rescued.  Just in case of another flare up, it seemed most prudent to wait to put it all away.  My mom and Rob worked tirelessly to tidy and straighten as much as possible so that I wouldn't freak out when I saw it.  I laughed.  I sighed a few times.  But I knew, none of it really matters.  It's just stuff.  My loved ones are safe.  That's what's important.  And beyond that, billions of people all over the world are practically homeless.  I just had a pampered birth experience with pain control and hot meals and a hot shower. (okay, it was only a lukewarm trickle, but still!)  If I had birthed in Haiti, I would have had to bring my own bucket for a toilet and my own sheets and sanitary cloths.  I would have eaten only if my family brought me food and if I died, I would be moved to one side of the room and left until someone got around to burying me.  Here is one story you could read   

Bottom line, it is vain to like awake at nights, worrying about all that could happen.  It is vain to try to keep a spotless home at any point, but especially just before or after giving birth.  God takes care of everything.  And, if you get overwhelmed and don't want to get it all put away, just invite house guests.  That motivated us!