You may be asking, "Well Deirdre, where in the world have you been all week?" Well, it has been a busy week, and I am so sorry that I have been gone. As you must pretty much know, dear reader, Texas has been in a terrible drought for most of the year. We are so far below on the average rainfall (I remember rain from when I was younger), and there isn't any real relief in sight.
On top of the lack of rain (by the way, my Christmas tree is STILL in my driveway in the burn pile from December!), we have had a very hot summer. I believe I heard that we had 87 days over 100 degrees this year, which is unusual. What's even more unusual is that the temps were way up there, like 109 and 111. For a little while I thought I was in Phoenix, but there were no Saguaro Cacti, so I was all confused. Turned out it was just the heat (get it?). Bad joke, I know. In any event, it doesn't really matter if it is 102 or 106, who can really tell the difference? All I know is that I got a great tan just standing outside talking on the phone for 5 minutes at a time! Seriously!
The lack of rain mixed with the hot summer has been the perfect formula for wildfires. Bastrop, Texas, about 35 miles southeast of Austin suffered major losses to over 1400 homes and thousands of acres of land. Our church, as well as churches all over the area (and the state, I would think) have had drives to get necessities to the residents. Wildfires were popping up all over the state, and every county but four have had burn bans enacted.
Last Tuesday as I was coming home from enjoying lunch with a good friend, I noticed this huge fire off in the distance. As I got closer I saw that it was in the direction of where I live. Then I came upon the Texas State Troopers who had closed the road about 5 miles from my home and were turning people around. I went to speak to them and they said "Sorry, can't let you through."
What a helpless feeling comes over you when someone in authority says that. "But I live there!" "Sorry, ma'am." So I turned around and headed for our Church. I knew there were Pastors there that would pray with my husband and I. He left work and met me there. On the way, I 'lost it' for a few minutes when I called my beautiful daughter and told her to get everyone in the office together and pray that the firemen are protected (it was 109 that day), that the people who had pets would be spared losing them, that the residents would be okay, and that the fire would not damage any one's home. After the initial fear and dread of the unknown, I settled back into a peaceful state.
Our beloved dog, Rehab, went to be with our other pets in heaven in April, so at least I didn't have that awful thought to consume me. That would have been unbearable knowing I had a pet in my house if it were on fire! And I didn't know how close the fire was. When I called the county police they mentioned the next street over. Then I heard God say, "Trust Me," and I knew I had to. I knew that I would be alright. I had just posted a blog about new beginnings two days earlier. I felt like this, if I lose everything, I had my journal with me, and it would be a new beginning, just like this book and this website, and all the wonderful things that are happening in my life. I knew that I may lose everything, but I felt very secure in knowing that God had something even better for me to replace those things with. I had peace. That was enough to get over the fear of the unknown.
At the church, our Associate Pastor and his wife, my dear friend, prayed for us and the neighborhood and the firefighters. We could see the smoke from outside our church, which is almost 16 miles away. After a few hours we thought we'd try to get home again. We would show our driver's licenses to the police and explain we needed to get prescriptions and necessities, and would leave if we had to.
(I will continue with Part 2 very soon! Stay tuned!)