Friday, October 22, 2010. . .
THE WRITING. . .I began this and almost noted that there was no writing today, but then I thought of The Reading and realized that there is always Writing. =)
I finished reading Verghese’s Cutting for Stone. Humming beneath the sheer delight of an engaging story was je ne sais quoi. I don’t know how to phrase it, this underlying flow of how, of technique, of oh my gosh how did he do that!?
There was history and culture and there was back-story woundedness – but over all there was “because of this character’s choice, there was this consequence and then there was that consequence and then” wow.
I want to do that.
THE DETAILS. . .As My Guy and I headed down the I-5 in the early morning dark to the airport, we remembered heading north up the I-5 in the early morning dark, on this day in 2007, to safety. We found our way to a theretofore unknown to us motel, as far west into the Pacific that the land allowed in Oceanside.
Several miles behind us to the east was a raging wildfire, pressed by 40-mile per hour winds with gusts up to 90 mph. The last we had seen, it was a block from our house, headed our way. We drove away, through the neighborhood on streets clogged with hundreds of others. We passed a burning house up the hill a few blocks from ours. Embers bounced off the pavement all around us. Days later we would find damage to a tire which had to be replaced.
We secured one of the last rooms available at that motel. Dear friends, also fleeing our burning community, joined us . As we sat around a breakfast table in a restaurant (they with two of their children, the third being away at college), Mr. Friend spoke on his cell with someone who lived up the street from us and said that (had he seen for himself? details do not matter at this point) our next-door neighbors’ house was gone.
And I knew. If theirs was gone, ours was gone.
A Matt Redman song sprang to mind. We had sung it recently in church. It was a favorite. He quotes from Job. “He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say: blessed be the name of the Lord.”
My heart will choose to say. Will choose.
I remember not sleeping well that night. Our kids were afraid for us, in Chicago and Flagstaff. From our room we could see fires burning on Camp Pendleton. I was glued to the news. Yes unhealthy, but also a necessity. It seemed the entire county was on fire, the entire city at risk. We needed to be better informed than we had been the night before.
We were awakened in the middle of the night by a banging on the door. I thought we were being evacuated, but it was a homeless woman begging for a blanket. We gave her the room’s extra one and a pillow.
The fires continued for days. We were cared for by family, friends, and insurance agent. Our son and daughter flew in to spend the weekend with us. I bought new underwear and a sweater at Macy’s. I sifted through ashes and found crosses and angels, blackened and somehow preserved.
And today I sense God telling me it’s okay to fly to my daughter’s and be lost for hours in someone else’s story. He’s got me covered.