it was 1:47 am last Thursday morning when my phone rang on my night stand
i reached for the phone, saw it was my mom calling
i don’t think i was aware of the time at that point i just knew she was calling
i answered the phone with a groggy “hello”
and she said “i just wanted to tell you that there has been an explosion across the street. The house and car are on fire. We are out of the house and…. “
then i heard mumbling and commands coming from different people and my mom abruptly ended our phone call
there are no words that can fully explain to you what a phone call like that does to you
and i hope none of you ever have to experience it
i spent the next four hours in a complete panic. complete hysteria. and cried more in those four hours than i have throughout my entire life
A natural gas line exploded right across the street from my parents’ house
My parents woke up to the explosion and sound of the massive fireball that lit up the sky for miles
i paced my house, about 15 miles away, contemplating waking my child and putting him in the car to drive out to Bushland near my parents
at the time, i didn’t know what was going on, and nothing had been reported online yet
as i scoured the net for information, i found footage of the explosion and fire and several twitter and facebook updates ranging from “i think a plane crashed” to “is the world coming to an end?!” to “have we been bombed?”
and because i didn’t know… because i only saw the mushroom of a fireball, i was terrified that i was going to lose my family
My brother was safe in Amarillo, completing another round of chemo
and as i lost my mind in my living room that night, i kept thinking… “how are we going to survive without my parents?!”
four days ago… i feared the worst.
four days ago… i spent many frantic hours praying for my parents and everyone affected by the explosion
four days ago, a flame over 700ft tall poured over a neighborhood
i am not going to say “luckily” … because luck has NOTHING to do with it… MIRACULOUSLY – everyone affected by the explosion survived with only minor injuries
in my parents case, there were no injuries and only minor fire damages done to their home
when i think about the way everything unfolded that day, how the gas company wasn’t able to shut off the gas for almost TWO hours,
how my dad, who is a fireman, went back in with the emergency units to help out
how my mom would only call me for 20 seconds here or 45 seconds there, and then hang up
i, being the pessimist that i am, feared that each call was the last one i would get or have with my mom
news stories report that three houses suffered damages… and my parents house was one of them
i canNOT explain to you how much that has rattled my core
By the grace of God alone, my parents are safe. the neighbors are safe. and now, life will start to be pieced together again
after the sun rose, i joined my parents and my aunt out at the house
when i arrived, the wind was blowing ashes around, some of the light poles were still on fire, and the neigborhood had been taken over by police, and emergency workers for the gas and electric company
the entrance to the street had been blocked off so i had to be escorted in by a police officer who had at first informed me that i couldn’t go in because it was “too close”
i walked into my parents house and just hugged my parents
my mom and i walked around the house and yard taking photos (because that’s what we do)
and i just kept thinking how God had put a protective shield over their home
because as you look at these photos – you can’t help but question… “how did ANY of these homes survive this fire?!”
the photos of the fire were taken by my mom. she grabbed her camera bag before rushing out of the house
this is part of the house across that street that was lost in the fire. this is their house now-
people ask how this family got out of the house before their house caught fire. some might say the explosion jolted them out of bed. but i think, perhaps, God threw them out
standing in their driveway, this is the view of my parents house. unbelievably close. dangerously within reach. miraculously spared.
their front yard was charred all the way up to the house. my mom says that she looked out through the window and saw the fire crawling through their yard and then my dad told her to RUN! she ran out of the back door, following the neighbors that had come over from across the street. if you look above, on the lower right, there is a black spot in the front yard. this is the shoe of the little boy. he kept saying “i lost my shoe. i lost my shoe”
just short of reaching the house, the fire stopped. JUST SHORT OF REACHING THE HO– — — — USE… the fire STOPPED
the side of their house suffered fire damage to the fence. but this is, unbelievably, the worst of it
my mom’s car was out in the driveway. she had initially thought to drive the car out to safety. then she saw it covered with fire
to say that the neighbors and families affected were “lucky” is an understatement. this is more than just luck. more than luck.
my Welita, grandmother, was not informed of the happenings until the following morning, after everything had calmed down. when i spoke to her, she told me that she had shot out of bed for no reason at all around the time of the explosion and felt the need to pray for her children. she didn’t know which ones. or why. or anything about what was going on. she told me she just started to pray and felt so nervous.
i share this story for two purposes:
first and foremost – to express the love and grace of our God. How even in times like this, he is still there. How he waved his hand over my parents and the neighbors home to the west and said “that’s enough” and kept the other neighbors safe.
i won’t question His plan or reasoning. but will be eternally thankful that he protected everyone. that he kept my parents with us. My family friend, Carol, once said to me “there are no freak accidents. God knows when our time is.” Asked how she was able to run to safety, yet take photos, my mom says “i knew my family was taken care of. and i felt that if God said it was my time, then it was my time”
of course, none of that is comforting in the midst of the news or events that morning. nor is it comforting during this aftershock.
but i do find a GREAT comfort in knowing that my parents are still with us. that i still have my family.
i am thankful for all of the rescue teams that responded to the fire, including one of my recent clients.
i applaud you all for abandoning your fear and disbelief and having a tunnel vision of duty
Secondly – i have been MIA for the last few days – spending time with my parents and brother. I have fallen behind on emails, texts, phone calls, and blogging. we are all finding normalcy this morning and i will start responding to all of you today and this week.
God bless you all. hug your loved ones. let go of grievances. tell someone you love them. so that they can hear it today. so that they may know. because YOU never know…