Finding the blessings

My friend Callie called me one day to tell me a crazy story. Although normally at work, she was home one morning because her daughter’s school started late that day. As she prepared to leave the house, she left her daughter at the door and went back to adjust the thermostat, which they typically leave at the same temperature. Looking up, she noticed that the crown molding was shimmering with heat. She didn’t smell smoke, but she calmly called 911. They told her to get out of the house immediately.

It turns out the bulb in the kitchen pantry caught on fire, which spread to the beams spanning the length of the house. Everything above the ceiling and below the roof was burning. If she’d waited another 10 minutes to call, the firemen told her, the whole house would have collapsed.
While Callie was grateful for the Holy Spirit’s nudge to turn back, and grateful that they were all safe, the next few weeks were difficult. Her family wasn’t allowed back in their house. All their clothes and furniture were taken to a place that specializes in smoke removal. Callie, her husband David, and their three children under the age of eight were moved to an extended-stay hotel. Mornings were hectic—getting the girls off to school from an unfamiliar place… running to work… coming home and trying to cook and bathe and feel like they had a home…. I called Callie one day after I’d been thinking about how hard this all was for her, and instead of accepting my sympathy, she surprised me with her thoughts.

“You know, if someone had asked me if I would be willing to relocate my family for eight weeks while someone came in and redid my house with all new carpet, new wood floors, and new paint in every room, I would have said, ‘Absolutely.’” So, she said, that was how she was choosing to see it all: as a blessing. It’s all in how you look at it.

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