What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

23 March 2017


The fire alarm went off in my apartment building in the wee hours this morning. (Okay, it was 5:40, so not exactly "wee," but still--today's not a running day so I was looking forward to sleeping for at least another hour.) Now, living on the ground floor facing the sidewalk, I had the luxury of pausing for a second to put on more clothes and real shoes, since it was 25° outside, and stopping to pick up my phone and wallet--had my door been blocked in those two minutes, I could have gone out the window.

That was totally unnecessary, since the fire was small enough that the fire department had it taken care of and let us back in the building within ten minutes. But in that interim, there was a bit of chatter amongst the neighbors about how long it took us all to wake up when the alarm went off (consensus: faster than our nightmare scenarios, but still not as fast as we were all comfortable with), as well as looking around and wondering if some folks had slept through the whole thing, since there fewer people slowly freezing outside than there are units in the building. So that was a bit of a fright to start our day.

This did not happen this morning. I saw not so much as
a single flame. Thank goodness!
Source: Rick Cowan on freeimages.com.
Once at summer camp we did that stupid "what would you grab if there were a fire" exercise, because I think the asker was trying to tease out our most prized possessions. (Why not just ask that?) I only remember it because I pointed out what a terrible exercise it was to casually chat about endangering our lives in case of fire when we'd been taught since birth to get out fast and leave everything behind. When the man leading the class pressed me for an answer anyway (because I was refusing to play), I said I'd grab my handbag and my Bible: the reason being that my IDs, keys to my parents' cars, and my calendar/phone directory all lived in my handbag, all of which seemed to my teenage mind practical things to have on hand in case of disaster. And at the time I was using a beautiful gift Bible I had received, you know, as a gift, and as a bonus those two things lived next to each other on my nightstand. So why not pick up both?

He laughed out loud, said I was clearly living in two worlds, and that he was definitely going to use me as a sermon illustration. I told him I didn't see what was so funny, pointing out that I would need IDs, phone numbers, and probably car keys in the immediate aftermath of a fire. Clearly, given what I stuffed my coat pockets with on my way out the door this morning, middle-aged Su agrees with teenage Su on this point. I don't remember the rest of the class, because I was so angry at being forced to answer a question I was uncomfortable with and then being ridiculed for it. (I imagine he was also annoyed at his little game being thwarted by someone taking him so literally.) 

So this was a long way round to say two things: 

1) Make sure you and your family have basics on hand for grabbing on the way out the door, down to the storm cellar, etc., in case of emergency. Shoes, phone, keys, wallet--all things that you need to know exactly where they are when seconds count. This might be a good time to think about creating a family launch pad.

2) Words matter. That class could have begun with a thought-provoking exercise that sparked a discussion about what mattered in our lives; what kinds of things we were devoting our time, energy, and thoughts to; or the kinds of values we were all developing that we would be carrying into our adult lives--if only the teacher had taken the time and mental energy himself to craft questions that would lead to those things. It was a good lesson for me, though, about the responsibility inherent in choosing to write or speak for an audience. A little bit of care and thought can go a long way toward a message being one of encouragement instead of destruction, or being useful instead of flip. Who doesn't wish they could take words back from time to time? And while no one is going to think before they speak 100% of the time, I know I could stand to try it a little more often. Maybe you can, too.

So. What got you out of bed this morning?

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