Escape Fire

Sometimes, this world gives us more than we can handle. Sometimes, this world sends in a hero. Sometimes, it doesn’t. What do you do when your world is on fire and you feel like you might be fully engulfed….you set fire in ahead of the incoming one.

Burn whats behind you and the rising flames coming forward have nowhere to go because there’s nothing left. Escape fire.

Today is a down day and it’s hard to explain. Especially considering I just returned from a weekend retreat with many women and had a blast! It was so nice to relax, be silly and play dominos. However, when I woke up this morning, I felt the weight of the world again. Maybe it’s because I am dreading my upcoming birthday. Some days I am excited for it and others I’d rather just sleep until November.

Sometimes it seems my heart is on fire and the smoke makes it hard to breathe. All I need is something to hold onto to get me through it.

Change is hard. Maintaining forward motion is hard.

I am halfway through my next (and final) degree and I am gearing up for my volunteer efforts in a non-profit. I am still working (but seldom), still spending time to myself (but it’s tough), and juggling everything that comes with being a mom. Sometimes it seems I have lit a perimeter fire to protect myself and those I love so the incoming flames have no chance to overtake us.

Standing in that circle I can see the flames and hear the roar but the smoke clouds my view of anything in the distance. I hold strong and wait patiently for the flames to die down before I make my next move.

In the circle, I have time to think of whats next.

The truth is, I have no idea. The only thing I’ve ever known to do it fight fire with fire. When I get burned, it ignites my flame higher and I rise.

Small fires or big, I’ll always have my escape fire to protect all I have built. I’ll continue building even under great heat. In the end I know, I am bound to be rewarded.

But on down days like today, it’s hard to envision a life outside of my perimeter.

I don’t want to celebrate by birthday today but maybe tomorrow I will.

In the meantime, I’ll fight the poor feelings with love and buy myself some flowers because even if a girl says she doesn’t want flowers for her birthday, she does. Even when she says she doesn’t want to celebrate; she does in some capacity and even when the fire is too close, she wants to fight back…and win.

When I needed a hand, I found a paw.

Numbers

Numbers. They are everywhere and they mean different things to different people. Sometimes you have a lucky number, sometimes you mistype a number, and sometimes number turn into connections you never saw coming.

Today started like every day before, I woke up multiple times, looked at the numbers on the clock and groaned at how early it was. I was (and am) exhausted but alas, got up let the dog out, got Gabriel up and fed, got Amelia up and dressed and we all headed out the door for daycare and school drop offs. It’s like everyday before except today was different.

On this day 8 years ago, I said “YES” to my person. I was so excited for forever. All I got was another 6 years. It’s been 2 years since he’s been gone but I still remember 10/8/2011 like it was yesterday. Josh, typically a quiet guy, was unusually quiet on our hike up to Mount Tom. It was weird so I thought , “maybe he’s going to propose?!!!” I picked up the pace to the top… He continued to be weird while I continued to basically throw myself at him to set up the “perfect moment” but he was having none of that. I finally gave up and started walking back down and that’s when he got on one knee! I asked, “are you serious?!” followed by a “YES!”. Even now, I go to Mount Tom on our wedding anniversary. I take the kids for a picnic where daddy proposed. It’s a small and sweet gesture to remember our anniversary and the day he (finally) put a ring on it!

Today was hard though. I cried. A lot. Not just because the number on the calendar broke my heart but because I looked at grades and whats left to do and feel overwhelmed. How do I do it all? Why am I doing it all? And alone at that? I literally did the math to see how many assignments I could avoid and still pass the class but again, it’s not me to just skate by so off to shoot for another 100% I go. Then things began spiraling because why does God think I can handle this on my own? Why should I have to? I know I don’t deserve to be alone so how many more years will pass until I find that one person to take me as I am? 1 year? 2 years? 20? I am not desperate by any means. I am fully capable of doing things on my own but it does get overwhelming at times and I can’t help but think of what it would be like to be loved again; truly loved.

As the numbers on the clock keep passing into the next hour and the days keep flying by, I am reminded of good and bad times but also how blessed I am. One of the biggest numbers to stand out to me are the kids weights. Amelia was 7 pounds and 14 ounces when she was born. It took us 2 years to get pregnant with her and she was not breathing when she was born. She was our first miracle baby. We were married 7.14. How cool is that to have your first borns weight be your anniversary? I always thought it was neat.

It wasn’t until recently I noticed the incredible connection to Gabriels weight. Gabriel, our second miracle baby born via IVF after Josh passed away… I prayed and prayed for it to work and then prayed some more that I’d get a boy and viola! The power of prayer! Gabriel was 8 pounds 2 ounces. Slightly bigger than his sister but just as precious. We buried Josh on 8.2.

If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will.

All these numbers and anniversaries. Many people remember Josh by his badge number 462. Even bible verses have numbers attached. Psalm 22:2, “Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.”

Numbers are so important. Sometimes they are the difference between just another day or another memory that brings you back to a time when your smile wasn’t forced. And sometimes they are your hope, a new understanding, and your light for a better future.

One day He will answer my prayers. Until then, I will raise my two blessings and find further strength in numbers as those who continue to love us, continue to pray for us.