My van caught on fire today.
Within ten minutes of pulling onto the side of the road after my van died it proceeded to be entirely engulfed in flames. That’s it. The people in the ER all wanted to see the pics. And they all told me how blessed I was to just be there with my burnt foot. You know why?
My kids all got out.
A whole bunch of stuff (and van garbage….) was destroyed. Important papers, some mail, some school stuff. My van. Just stuff.
But my kids were safe.
People want to know what happened and what started it. I don’t really know. It doesn’t matter in the end as it was destroyed within minutes. So know I’m not a mechanic, but obviously, something major happened. We were driving to the park to go for a walk and I missed the turn and I backed up and made the turn and as we driving down that park road all of a sudden every electrical warning light on my van came on and it totally died. I had no control over the steering and no brakes.
Somehow I made it over to the side and parked and tried to gather my thoughts. The engine temperature was normal and yet there was white smoke coming out. I wasn’t sure what to do, but my eleven year old, Caleb, got out of the car and saw fire in the engine.
That’s when I screamed for everyone to get out. That’s also when, in my not so brilliant thinking, I scraped my foot under the burning vehicle in an attempt to snuff out the fire that was burning on the ground. Which, now, due to my second degree burns and melted sock and shoe on my foot, was some type of fluid or gasoline. But my kids were out. And as I watched my van that was the first thing I owned on my own since my divorce, that had gone with me from Minnesota to Tennessee, that had all our stuff in it — go up into flames — I didn’t care.
My family was safe. Everyone at the park (with tons filming probably for facebook live) was safe.
Somehow in this world the stuff gets value.
We work for stuff. We don’t want to lose stuff. But when the stuff gets taken and our family preserved — we quickly realize how much the stuff doesn’t matter.
It just doesn’t.
So, now, now I’m so thankful. I’m trying to be thankful instead of sad and worried.
So this is my Finding Joy list for you.
Thankful for the goodness of humanity. So I want to say thank you – to the people that helped me secure one hundred feet perimeter until the firetruck arrived, to the firefighters and park rangers, to my friend Dan and his mother, Mary (who sat with me in the ER for three hours), and father Dave, for the kind grandmother who consoled my two little boys, for the sweet women who knew first aid who helped me with my foot, to the ER staff and for my kids for being brave.
Friends, you never know when you’ll be in a spot like this.
Hug your family a bit tighter today. Love them.
And in the end remember.
That stuff doesn’t matter that much.
ps. to read my follow up about what you need to know if you ever deal with a vehicle fire go here -> “it will never happen to me”