Today I was more scared that I've ever been. I'm blogging tonight from the a comforting home of a friend, smelling soot and ash from my laptop that is likely ruined. My apartment building caught fire today.
I'm fine. Most of my belongings are fine. At around 1:00pm I heard the floor of my kitchen crackling and the floor began to heave. I grabbed my keys and went downstairs to tell my neighbor to stop doing whatever he was doing. And then the stairwell filled with thick black smoke.
I couldn't see anything - it was as if I had a blindfold on. I got as low as I could, scrambled down three flights, and yelled as loud as I could. Apparently my yelling helped some of my neighbors get out of the building. No smoke alarms went off, or at leas none of the ones I pass on my way downstairs.
It was a curious thing. I felt like I was flying down those stairs, as if someone was carrying me. My apartment is largely untouched, despite that most of my neighbors around me have apartments that are virtually destroyed. And just this morning I was talking about the importance of renters' insurance and how I'd never had anything like a house fire happen to me. It's all a bit eerie. I'm worried I may never feel at home in that apartment again and yet, I'm also very much aware that someone, somewhere was and is protecting me.
My greatest fear was that I'd pass out on the stairs, dying from smoke inhalation. And even though I got a face full of soot, I never once felt like I was suffocating. I only had the fear of suffocating. Very different. Truthfully, I came out that front door with a scratch, bump, or bruise on me. I was just fine. Only shaken.
And now I wonder if this one event is enough. As if I weren't already painfully aware of time passing by, now I think I might be turning a corner, again, in my quest for a whole, joyful life. It seems that now I really don't have any reason to be afraid. That there is no time like the present to grab ahold of everything I ever wanted to do or be. A few more minutes in that building, and the ending of my story could have been much different. I might not be writing this blog post tonight.
We're all always on borrowed time. Now, it seems impossible to me that I could ever forget that. And for this borrowed time, I am most grateful. I learned today that I really don't need any possessions I have. All I needed was my health. I just needed to be okay. The rest can be replaced. All of it. Amazing how it takes something so traumatic to truly know something so basic.
Already I feel the gloom lifting and the light settling in. Already I know that I will be more than okay, that today I begin never, ever looking back. Today I start moving forward with a new energy to build the greatest life I possibly can. And again, I feel like I am flying, as if someone is carrying me. And I know they are.