Last night we prayed specifically for protection of our home.

I usually (almost always) do in my own prayers, because Brigham Young said our evening prayers should include a prayer for protection while we sleep.  So I have been trying to remember when it is time for evening prayers with my mom, too, to ask for protection while we sleep.  I like knowing He is taking care of that while my body truly rests.

Today we are glad we did pray that prayer, and grateful to Him for protecting us.

That prayer saved our lives; He saved our lives.  And the lives of our neighbors.

In the middle of the night, our neighbor went out to smoke.  When he finished, he threw his cigarette in the flower pot he uses, same as always.

Except this time the wind caught it, and it fell into the grass.

He was mostly asleep, and went in to go to bed.

About 20 minutes later, his wife woke up smelling smoke.

She looked, and a small patch of the backyard was on fire.

They started throwing buckets of water, but the wind from last night picked it up and spread it fast.

They called 9-1-1, and the fire department came quickly.

(So glad they are just down the street from us!)

When the neighbors opened the side gate to let the firemen in the backyard, it was like a wind tunnel, and the fire spread across their whole back yard, up the side of their house, across our fence, and into my backyard.

It was really, really scary.

Except we were sleeping.

Mom ignored the dogs barking, because they have been unusually cranky at night recently (they need a bigger crate, I think, now that the puppies are dogs).

When I sleep, my processors (the outside part of my cochlear implants) are over on the dresser where the batteries charge overnight.

A fire is probably one of the scariest things for a Deaf person.  Many have smoke detectors with flashing lights, the accessibility version to the loud siren hearing people have – but I do not.  They are expensive.  I am able to work a regular job, instead of being on disability, so I do not qualify for the free equipment from the state… but that doesn’t mean I can afford to just buy all the equipment outright.  So I just don’t have them.  When I lived in apartments, I could get them (force them) to install them for me.  But things are different when you are trying to be a homeowner.

(This is another reason I often don’t answer the door if I don’t know you are coming – I don’t have light flashers for my doorbell anymore, either, not since building the new house.  Usually the dogs tell me, though, that someone is here – and now mom is here, too.  But if they are outside, and she is watching TV, then I just don’t hear the doorbell, and so don’t know to answer the door.)

(The other reason I often don’t answer the door is that I am not Pavlov’s dog. I am not going to run to the door just because a bell rings, much to the frustration of my mother.)

My neighbors, however, are awesome.  Not only do they know me and that my mother is here with me, and even understand about my cochlear implants, but they know and “get” that at night I cannot hear.  They had a great plan to go around to the back of the house and bang on the windows on my mother’s room to wake her up.  Genius.

They also (now) have her cell number, which she keeps by the bed at night, so they can call her in the night (for the next emergency), since I won’t notice texts when I am sleeping.

(I don’t notice anything when I am sleeping.  It’s a bonus of being Deaf.)

The good news is that my neighbors are okay, and their dogs are okay.

Their house is mostly okay-ish.  Everything will be fine.

And grass will grow, all healthy-like, kind of like how your hair grows back after it gets shaved for brain surgery. Twice.

Me and my mother and our puppies and our bird are okay, and my house is okay.

The fire stopped at my garden, as if the paving stones around it were a wall of protection guarding the rest of the house.

That’s when the firemen got here, just as the fire got to my house.

We are grateful, and very much aware of the miracle – even in the timing – that the water started spraying from those trucks just in time.  Just in time.

Seriously, a fire – or any natural disaster, especially at night time – is probably the scariest thing for a Deaf person.  And this could have ended very, very badly.

We really are grateful, truly.

Grateful for firemen that not only saved our house, but saved our lives.

Grateful for good neighbors that know us well, and know our needs.

It’s weird to look out and see black all along the fence and around the garden.

If I didn’t know what happened, I would think the dogs had been playing in my garden and kicked all the dirt out.

Except I don’t have that much dirt.

It’s all kind of surreal, and still plays tricks on my mind.

Except really what happened was there was a fire, and it was big, and it was scary.

The wind moved that fire through the dry grass and up the house and over the fence like nothing, they said, almost faster than you can watch it.  Today we are grateful for cold rain that sizzles the smoke and cools the heat, like a safety-blanket after the firemen are gone.

We are also grateful for firemen.  I will say it a hundred times.  We are grateful for firemen.

And fire trucks.

And long hoses full of life-saving water.

And we are grateful for good neighbors.

Good neighbors that don’t forget the Deaf girl or her mom next door.

That’s a true friend, the kind that won’t let you burn to death in your sleep.

I thanked them, profusely, for not forgetting us or our challenges.

I thanked them for being good neighbors.

The dogs, however, stay away from the charred grass, as if they know something is wrong.  They are curious, and get close enough to sniff, and then scamper off, as if they know the smell means danger.

It was really scary.

The blackness left behind is a disconcerting reminder, kind of like funeral flowers.

But everything is fine, and everyone is okay.

Even the Deaf girl, who sleeps through tornadoes and earthquakes and house fires.

Posted in House permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Fire! — 5 Comments

  1. I am so glad you’re okay!! And that happened to my neighbor last week. Their entire backyard and siding on their house is gone. But it wasn’t their fault, it was their neighbor’s cigarette’s butt’s fault. He threw it over the fence. So really his fault. I’m so very glad that you are okay, and that this scary experience is over.

  2. Dieu merci vous êtes sauves. I hope this will decide your neighbor to definitly quit smoking.

  3. How scary! I’m so glad your neighbors were thinking of you, and the fire department is so awesome, and God kept you and your mom and dogs and even your garden safe.