We arrived home around 4:00 and settled in for a lazy afternoon. Around 5:30, we determined we should probably bring in some firewood before the rain started in earnest. So, we spent about 30-45 minutes splitting and stacking wood in the wood box where it would hopefully remain dry. We piddled the rest of the evening and sat down for a late dinner around 8:30.
We had just sat down when I noticed a puff of smoke through the living room window. Since we have a wood stove, seeing a stray puff of smoke is not unusual. This puff, however, was accompanied by a strange orange haze. My heart immediately beat faster. "What is that?" I asked Jason as we both ran toward the door.
He jerked open the door, and we quickly discovered that the hood of our only vehicle was on fire. He ran to the back of the truck to remove the gas can he had for his chainsaw and anything else that might lead to a larger catastrophe. I ran back inside to call 9-1-1. About twenty minutes and several little explosions later, the fire was out, and all that was left of our vehicle was a stinking pile of blackened carcass.
The past few days have been a blur of talking with the fire chief, receiving the fire report, dealing with the insurance company, meeting with the insurance adjuster and trying to get my heart to stop pounding from all the excitement. With all that behind us, yesterday the adjuster finally told me the news I had been waiting to hear: "I'll schedule for the remains to be picked up tomorrow." It was the best news I had heard in weeks! I am tired of looking at the charred carcass. I am tired of checking every few moments to see if anything else has caught fire. I am sick of the smell of burnt metal and plastic. I want it gone! Nothing can be saved from it, so I just want it out of my sight! As far as I'm concerned, they can't get here soon enough. The truck is now nothing more than a source of anxiety and stress.
As I think of the relief I will have once the carnage is removed, I can't help but to think of other things in my life that might need to go with it. Fears, doubts, worries. They, too, are nothing more than sources of anxiety and stress, so shouldn't I be just as eager to get rid of them?
Sometimes we have no control over what comes into or goes out of our lives. But most of the time, we do. We decide what feelings we'll keep and which ones we'll toss. We decide what memories to hold on to and which ones to neglect. We decide what promises we'll cling to and which ones we think are too good to be true. We make the decisions, and those decisions affect our daily lives and attitudes.
It's still the beginning of the new year. We still have time to change our old ways. Let's make every effort to get rid of the things in our lives that do nothing more than cause stress and pull us away from God. We don't need our worries. We don't need our negative thoughts. We don't need our bitterness. We don't need our pride. Let's get rid of them and never allow them to come back.
The future is full of possibilities, and we'll be able to reach those opportunities much easier if we will first remove the stumbling blocks.