I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, July 18, 2013

60 seconds . . .

If your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take?

My husband and I recently watched the movie Leap Year. It’s a cute flick about a woman who heads to Ireland to ask her boyfriend to accept her wedding proposal on leap day, when Irish tradition holds that men cannot refuse a woman's proposal for marriage. Her plans are interrupted by a series of increasingly unlikely events and are further complicated when she hires a handsome innkeeper to take her to her boyfriend in Dublin.

Along the way the handsome innkeeper poses the question “If your house was on fire and you had 60 seconds, what would you take?

Having only just faced a wildfire within less than a mile behind our house, the possibility of that occurring to my husband and I was very real. (the picture shown here is the actual fire) We gathered up the irreplaceables: pictures, important documents, a few items that were important to us. Then while taking one last walk through our house, we decided the most important this was we had each other and the rest was just “stuff”.

It got me to thinking, how often do we overlook what is really important? How often do we worry about the “stuff” and miss those special moments with loved ones? Or God? God says he will supply our every need. In fact, he goes beyond that to the point of supplying more than we could ever hope for or dream of. He is our rock, our salvation, but most of all our friend.

He isn’t interested in the “stuff”—the awards, the number of books published, the valuables in our house. He cares about Who we call on in that 60 seconds when life is rough. Who do we smile up at when times are good? But mostly, who do we praise for the journey?

For us, thankfully, the effort in packing turned out to be an exercise in preparedness. The wind for the first time in days turned relatively calm and the fire stayed at bay. In the hours following, the fire crews dumped water and fire retardant on the blaze. We adjusted our “in case of fire” list to include a few things we hadn’t thought of previously.

All in all, our 60 seconds turned out to be a happy ending. But it put life back into perspective for me.

Now its your turn: Where have you experienced the 60 seconds that made you see just how unimportant “stuff” is?


  1. Jennie, That must have been so scary. I'm so thankful your story has a happy ending!

    With all the families who've recently lost everything through fires or tornadoes, it's something we should all think about. Even if we don't live in "Tornado Alley" or an area prone to wildfires, we're all vulnerable. Last Saturday night, an electrical fire burned down a home a half a mile from my house.

    If I had only a minute to grab stuff, my list would include documents, photos, my flash drive, my purse and the big stuffed dog my son sleeps with. ;-)

    But the 60 seconds that changed my life forever, the moment that taught me what matters are the people, was the police officer at my door saying my husband had suffered a heart attack in his car and hadn't survived.

    Stuff is so inconsequential. The people we love mean everything.

  2. Jennie - Whew!
    So glad you had a happy ending. For me, it makes me realize I need to compose a checklist and get everything in order.

    I would gather the most necessary - documents, pictures and my laptop.

    When you have something like that happen, it does make you look at all the "troubles" in your life and put it in true perspective.

    Alena T.

  3. I had a similar experience in another way that made me take a hard look at what really matters in life. I walked out of my home about three years ago and never returned. My precious daughter went down for me and packed up some things that were important to me: pictures, heirloom items, and some of my favorite books. It does make you take stock as to what is important.

  4. Roxanne,
    Its amazing how fast those items that seem most important fall away under a situation like this...or like yours. Family and the friendships we've built over time are far more important that the junk we accumulate.

  5. Alena,
    Perspective is everything. How easily it shifts to what is most important under stress. Too bad we can't keep that in focus all the time...I'm speaking for myself on that one!

  6. Teri,
    I agree wholeheartedly! We never know what life will send our way, I'm just thankful for a God who is always at my side!

  7. Nice job, Jennie. We've had 2 families of friends lose their home to fire (log cabins in rural Canada) and helped carry out some things, replace is small measure some of the things we could. That plus frequent forest fires, and even a pre-evacuation order by RCMP got us thinking about essentials--important documents, identification, each other. Then friends had a roof fire and my then 12-year-old helped her get the kids out and reminded her of what to grab--I was grateful & she was impressed, but neighbors got that fire out. Yes, events like this always bring us back to the truly essential basics. GLAD your situation turned out well.

  8. Dee,
    Thanks for sharing! I was glad everything turned out well too!

  9. Unfortunately, I found out what I would grab if I only had 60 seconds when our home burned down...and I didn't have time to grab anything. Since then I've learned to hold everything loosely--the only things that really matter are God, your life and how you live it. Great post, Jennie.

  10. I can't even imagine that. So glad you guys were kept safe. I'm amazed at how much God has brought you guys through. You can truly see His hands on your lives :)

  11. Jennie, as soon as I read your title, I thought of Leap Year. I love that movie, and that question. I didn't realize the fires were so close to you. I'm glad you were spared. With the fires here in Colorado last month, my husband and I thought through what we would need to grab in the event we had to evacuate. These kinds of events put everything into tight perspective.

    If I had a 60-second event, I would make sure that my husband and kids were safe. Then, I'd grab my laptop, pics, important papers.