“AND YOUR EARS
SHALL HEAR A WORD
BEHIND YOU …”
A five-gallon can of kerosene dangled from his fingers as he headed toward the end of the hall. Thirty seconds passed … then WHOOSH. Fumes ignited. Her head jutted through the bedroom doorway, peering down the hallway toward the sound. A circle of fire completely surrounded him. He screamed, “Grab blankets!” The quiet slowing of time, where one forgets to breathe, paralyzed her, and she didn’t move. Then he was there, snatching a quilt from over her shoulder then racing back down the hall. She followed, a handmade rug skimming the carpet as she rushed toward the spreading fire. She didn’t hear the quilt slicing through the air or him beating at the flames in desperation. Her mind was numb.
He scrambled back down the hallway for the garden hose, leaving her thrashing the fire with her rug. Neither thought of the exterior door, nor the supply hoses for the washing machine the kerosene heater was sandwiched between. Time just clicked by as a second hand; visual and sensory blinks of mechanical movements dancing alongside the spreading fire. Suddenly she was aware her torso was bent directly over the lit kerosene heater! She skirted past it, attacking the fire’s charge. The downward motion of her rug trapped fresh air, fueling the flames like a bellow, yet she worked on, her mind intent on quenching the blaze.
“THIS IS THE WAY,
WALK IN IT ” …
It was that firm voice she heard that brought her to a momentary stillness. “GO,” the powerful voice commanded. The rug slipped from her fingers as she turned, and stiffly walked through the mounting smoke toward the front door. It was a dreamlike state she floated though, this hall leading to her living room and the kitchen just beyond. Collections of family heirlooms and decades of irreplaceable old portraits hung on the walls, lovingly arranged by her own hands. Volumes of antique poetry, and every piece of music she’d ever written – all just sixty seconds away from the hot, consuming fingers of the fire.
She stood in the open doorway and watched him frantically trying to attach the garden hose to the water source. He yelled to her to hold the hose end in place while he rushed past her to quench the fire, but it was useless, the fire was already licking at the entrance of the living room. They stumbled backward into the yard to watch as some of their neighbors gathered alongside them. Fire trucks screamed in the distance, then as the back door imploded, a massive backdraft careened through her home and blew out the kitchen’s bay windows.
Surely, it was the hand of YAH that saved them that day.
Father, in times like these I know You’re there,
when all is lost but for You –
and the gulf between life and death
is just too great a challenge for human form …
I’ve learned to wait,
Father, on You.