House Fire: Life is in the Struggle

In the desire to create a perfect world, let us not forget that growth happens in the struggles of life. (More about this idea below)

Note: I actually wrote this and made this graphic the day before the stove caught fire and it was supposed to be published yesterday, but WordPress is being wonky.

At the time, I was thinking about how bean counters , investors, and central planners are working to eliminate all risk from life for financial reasons and to automate everything which will eliminate the most productive jobs. If they succeed in building this world of the future all that’s left will be government and bureaucratic jobs, thinking jobs and maybe creative jobs. I say “maybe” on the creative jobs because AI will handle most of that. That leaves people to find things to do with their time, which often turns out badly.

I know it will take years to build this “perfect world” , and Jesus could return today, but I think it’s a very risky plan .

There’s no life without risk

Yes, let’s try to cure cancer and we should help people get food, water, shelter, freedom, etc. But we need to preserve what makes us human, the struggles of life. You don’t want life to be hopelessly difficult or needlessly dangerous or celebrate oppressive conditions. However , humans enjoy a challenge and hard work and difficult times CAN strengthen our character and our faith.

What I see happening in prosperous nations is people creating drama so they can continue to struggle. Obviously plenty of people are literally just trying to survive, but there’s a growing class with so much money that they have to find things to do to feel alive. I think that’s why ultramarathons and extreme sports as well as psychedelic drugs and increasingly bizarre sex are becoming so popular. Hopefully the geniuses who are building robots to take over all the jobs from medicine to taxi drivers to factories will remember that people need to have meaningful activity and real work to be healthy.

And then, after I thought about how life is in the struggle, the next day the kitchen caught on fire . 🤔

Post-fire emotions

After the fire I was very upset because I blamed myself for forgetting about the pan on the stove . My brain kept trying to dissociate to protect itself from the mental pain caused by the thoughts of what could have happened.

But I asked good prayer warriors to pray for me. I knew I needed help processing yet another difficult experience. Eventually I calmed down and started talking to God and listening. I started thinking how usually when I forget to do something important, the Holy Spirit reminds me. Why did that not happen this time ?

The spirit started showing me that even though it was scary at the time , God was always there controlling the situation. And that He had allowed it for purposes that remain unclear. I realized that I was not dwelling on the right thing. I needed to focus on how God had protected my family, because it could’ve been a very different outcome.

Do I really believe that God is that involved in my life ? Absolutely,

If my son had been wearing headphones like he often does, he wouldn’t have heard the smoke alarms . If he had not been sitting right where he was he wouldn’t have seen the flicker of flames underneath his closed door. If he hadn’t been home… If the can of cooking spray had exploded. If he had knocked the pan of the flaming oil off the stove (he said that almost happened) he would’ve been burned and set the whole house aflame. If he hadn’t known about the fire extinguisher and went for it immediately. If he hadn’t gotten my daughter out of the kitchen. If he hadn’t been home… But he was, and he did, and no one was hurt.

If ,if, if. But God was there. In the fire.

I don’t want to sound like I enjoyed the experience! But I won’t stop trusting God. And I know that He will bring something good out of this.

In fact I’ve already had unexpected conversations with my kids that show me that God is working in their hearts because of this fire, which is always my prayer!

The plastic tops melted
My youngest son in the kitchen the day before the fire.

Is she breathing?

One important thing that came out of the fire was that we spent the night at my mom’s house and I ended up sleeping with Grace. I haven’t done that since she was very small. During the night I suddenly woke up and I couldn’t tell for sure, but I thought she was dead. She felt cool to the touch and wasn’t breathing. My immediate thought was that the smoke had affected her lungs.

I was lying down and my right arm is still messed up from my fall, so it was awkward, but I did a few chest compressions and then rolled her on her side because she was limp. I shook her and then she gurgled and I heard her take a gasping breath. After lying awake for a while after that, I fell back asleep and then it happened all over. Not breathing, shaking her, taking a breath.

After that I got up and propped her on pillows. But this experience made me realize that her sleep apnea is worse than I thought. So I need to put on the bipap mask every night. Up until now I have only used it when she was sick because she doesn’t like it.

The weird thing is that when I shared that story about Grace with my friend, she told me that she had woken up that night thinking her husband was dead, he also has apnea, and her daughter had thought her husband (he has lung cancer) was dead! All in the same night. Strange, huh?

Sleeping like a baby with a very slow heart rate

Today

At this time we still have the breaker turned off that connects to the burned up vent fan. This means we have no power in the dining room, Grace’s room and my bedroom. Thankfully we have power to the refrigerator! Yesterday I started cleaning up the huge mess. It will take time to remove all the soot and fire extinguisher powder that went everywhere. Today the insurance adjuster is coming. Praying for a fair settlement so we can get our lives back in order.

13 comments

  1. Fun fact: The word “utopia” was coined in 1516 by Sir Thomas More, and comes from the Greek “ou” (“not”) and “topos” (“place”). It’s a fun play on words to suggest that a place of ideal laws and government – devoid of risk and suffering – is purely imaginary, not something that can ever exist. The quest for perfection (especially technocratic perfection) in this world is folly, and that’s why gratitude is so necessary.

    Praying that all goes well. Since you have started cleaning, be sure to remind the insurance adjuster that you have before-and-after pictures that show the true scope of the damage.

    Re: discovering the extent of Grace’s apnea, something similar happened to a friend of our family just recently. She was involved in a car accident where someone rear-ended her in traffic and she ended up sandwiched between the car that started the accident and the car in front of her. They rushed her to the hospital, and she seemed to be fine from anything involving the accident. But in the process of conducting all these scans to examine her internal organs, the doctors discovered she had an aortic aneurysm (the same exact thing that left my dad in a coma for a month over a decade ago). If she had not gotten into the accident, she could have had a medical event that has *extremely* low rates of survival. But instead they rushed her into surgery and she has a stint and is fine now. Just a regular reminder that we need to trust that God has a plan for our lives. It may not look like what we want it to look like, and that’s okay.

  2. Your faith is helping you through this struggle! I almost burned down my old house. I refinished the kitchen counters which were wood block. I stained and varnished them. I threw rags with turpentine on them on a wooden table in the garage. I smelled smoke an hour later and the table was on fire! The flames were licking the walls. In this case, it wasn’t me being distracted. I didn’t know the rags could combust!

  3. So very sorry! Will pray…God does use everything for good for those called according to His purposes.
    Now Grace will be protected more when she sleeps! A small price to pay!

  4. Oh my goodness! You’ve really been through the mill. I am praying right now, asking God to continue to work this situation for good and to bless you even more than He already has.

    I spent about five years dealing with my hubby’s sleep apnea. For the life of me, I could not convince him or the doctors that is was really serious. Not only does that disturb your own sleep, it’s also pretty scary! He has a machine now and he uses it every night. I know we are both tough cookies, but worrying that someone you love dearly may have stopped breathing is way too much stress. 🙂

    • It is! My oldest son takes a nap when he visits and he has terrible apnea. But he thinks he’s too busy to go to the doctor. 😕

  5. Oh my goodness that is scary and I am so glad God was looking out for you. I have a dear friend that let me live with him three times since I moved to Texas and within a couple of months of me moving out for the final time he had his old garage door replaced without knowing the water heater had a gas leak. One night the gas built up and the water heater exploded tearing through two of the bedrooms one his son had occupied and the other I had. If we both had still been living there we both would have died. Fortunately my friend’s room was on the other side of the house. He got out, but he lost a dog and his two birds in the fire. He lost all mementos from his kids growing up it was everything because the house was burnt to the ground. He was shell shocked for quite awhile afterward.
    When I read about your daughter it tugged at my heart I have a thing about people not being able to breath my youngest daughter died from SIDS at 2 months 21 days old. When my other two were growing even long after the danger of SIDS had passed I still went into their rooms at night to make sure they were still breathing. My man has sleep apnea and so we have the strangest sleeping arrangement I sleep on the sofa because sleeping on a bed causes me to much pain, and he sleeps in a recliner even though he wears a C-pap it is easier for him to sleep with his head elevated.
    I am so glad you know you can rely on God and even though we don’t always know why He allows things like this to happen we always know He knows what He is doing.

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