In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
I kept my boots on from the moment I left my house to the time I returned. Everything was safe. Twenty-four hours of prayer, giving everything up, and trying to find out what was going on. Rumors flew as quickly as the fires. We were pretty sure my family’s house was safe. No, it wasn’t. Yes, it was. No, it wasn’t.
And then we came back and more was well than we could have hoped. Though the hills on both sides burned, though the fire alarms were out of battery from beeping all night, the house stood. To me, it was a sign of the Lord’s Passover, and a reminder that He is with us.
Earlier that day, we complained about the winds; they dry everything out. They cut right through your clothes to let in the cold. They blow up dust and wreck the finish of your car. They bring in a bunch of allergens, causing headaches and stuffy noses.
And then… there was how normal it all was. But let me warn you: Curse thou not normalcy unless thou art prepared to battle the dragon! (Something like that.)
When I was getting ready to leave, worrying about what to take and what not to take, it hit me, over and over, how unprepared I was for this situation. I put off problems until I can’t put them off longer. My tires need to be changed. My car needs a new battery. I should have gotten gas two days ago when I had the chance, before the power went out for us and the neighboring cities. I left some important papers behind; they were in such disarray, it would have taken forever to sort out what I need from the junk.
But I’m lazy. I’d fallen asleep. In this time of Advent, Catholics prepare not only for Christmas—the celebration of Christ’s first coming—but also for His Second Coming. We try to be spiritually ready for death and judgment; who knows when God will take us? My unpreparedness hit me hard. If this is how laziness can effect my physical life, how much worse must it be in my spiritual life?
The fire started right near the school where I work. As we were packing up to evacuate, one of my housemates said with a smile, “Well, at least you know you won’t have work tomorrow!” I paused, hearing the excitement in her voice.
Wasn’t this break from normal exactly what I’d been asking for? I was tired of trying to slog through normalcy. I’d been trying to find a way to switch things up for a month! And here it was! I should have been excited!
But in that moment, all I could think was, “I would give anything to know for sure I would be going to work tomorrow.” Why? Because my life, the normal one I had been living all along, was full of goodness, full to the brim of blessings. I work in a beautiful place, doing something I care about with people I care about for people I care about. How could I not appreciate that? How could I wish for something else?
I hope to take that sense of gratitude with me as I return to my “normal life”. Things will be the same. But I hope I can make them different as well.
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