I had a bit of a scare today (everything is fine). But I know that the best scares are the ones that turn out to be nothing (like this one did) but shake your perspective up a little for some lessons. I thought I’d share mine with you, and perhaps you can use it to think about your own life, and learn a lesson without having to go through the scare part.
This morning, after my husband left for work, but before I was planning on waking up, the fire alarm system in my house was activated. It is a hard-wired system, and so the house was about as loud as you can imagine, and I bolted out of bed. My cell phone was next to me, and I grabbed it, threw on a heavy sweater from my closet, and ran downstairs to the main floor. I didn’t smell any smoke, didn’t feel any heat, didn’t hear any noises, but the alarm continued. My purse and car keys were right there, so I grabbed them, jumped into shoes left by the door, and ran outside. I dialed 911.
Of course, when I called 911, by the time I was off the phone with them, the alarm had stopped. The (awesome) Fire Department members came quickly, searched the house, and gave it an all clear. (Suspected culprit: a detector that has failed and needs to be replaced.)
When I was standing near the street in front of my house, expecting the worst, some serious thoughts went through my mind:
- What will I lose if the house burned down?
- Should I have grabbed something else?
- What happens to us next in life if something happens to this house?
- I’m grateful I got out of the house okay, and that no one else is home and is in danger. But still…. I’m scared standing here, by myself, at the tree by my street.
Honestly, some not-so-serious thoughts went through my mind, too:
- I’m really glad I thought to grab a sweater. It is freaking freezing out here.
- Did the firemen see that I still had the tags on this sweater?
- Thank God my house is clean enough for company. Except my clothes from yesterday on the floor by my bed.
- It’s a good thing I don’t have a client appointment right now, because I’d have to cancel it, and I’d feel bad about that.
- I hope the firefighter doesn’t come to talk to me. I didn’t brush my teeth yet.
- Ugh, all the traffic is slowing down and looking. How embarrassing.
- (And, the worst:) Why isn’t my husband answering my texts? I know he’s in a meeting right now, but still… can’t he just feel my stress in The Universe?
When I thought more about the IMPORTANT questions and thoughts, I found that I worked out the answers in my head:
- There’s nothing in my house that isn’t replaceable. Would it feel awful? Of course. But there is insurance for the things that have function, and we will deal with the emotional loss over the things that were sentimental.
- I’m grateful I set up Carbonite for my computer this year. If my computer were destroyed, I’d still have access to a lot of things that I *think* are important. My business files, digital copies of all our photos, etc. (I’d also have access to plenty of things that aren’t). And, it was on my to-do list for so long, I’d be really pissed at myself if I hadn’t finally gone through with it, and it was just an item nagging me from my to-do list, “Well, I MEANT to….”
- I’m glad we keep our important documents in a safety deposit box. Those are replaceable, too, but an administrative nightmare, I’ll bet, to do that. (note to self — safety deposit box key is in the house that would have burned down… so, maybe not getting an “A” on that one.)
- We have local friends who would take us in and give us a place to crash in a heartbeat if we needed it.
- People face much, much, much, much worse things every day than losing a home and their physical stuff. There are people in the world who would take this fate over what they’re facing today.
The past week has not been a smooth one. I’ve had my credit card compromised, my email hacked, and this. And yet, my life is amazing and I’m grateful for every last bit of it. So, I had to deal with some credit card hassle. I had to deal with some email junk, on an account I was thinking of getting rid of anyway. My house is totally fine, and we’ll change out that detector today (so that we don’t go through this in the middle of the night).
My husband and I will talk about it tonight, and we’ll ask ourselves if we’ve done what we can to protect what is important to us. Maybe we’ll make some changes, maybe we won’t (we’ll address that safety deposit box key thing, for sure). We’re both emergency-plan minded, which helps, but nothing like a safe-but-real dry run to expose the issues in the plan and system.
So, I ask you: If you were to face a sudden need to dash out of your home tonight, would you have regrets? Are there things you could do today to make sure that a scare in the future at your home is one that, when you run outside, you are focused on the right things, and coming up with the same answers I did?
If not, spend some time thinking about it, and putting a plan in place for the things that mean the most to you.
And, I know it’s a week out yet, but Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
I know I’m feeling thankful right now.