Evacuation – the clearance of personnel, animals, or materiel from a given locality.

It was a telephone call that pulled me out of a peaceful prayer time.  My daughter was calling to warn us that the evacuation line for the Napa/Sonoma fire (also called LNU fire) was literally a mile from our home.  I peered out the sliding glass door and saw a thick blanket of smoke overhead.  I opened the door to take a photo of the bright red sun outside and the reality of heat vs smoke was startling.  

We knew the right thing to do … but, we prayed anyway.  A peace, a calmness enveloped me that reminded me why I should pray even when I “do” know the right thing to do.

We were scheduled to leave in a week for a road trip to attend one of my “inner circle” friend’s wedding in Iowa … so we packed the RV as if we weren’t coming home until after the road trip.  I’m not gonna lie … there were definite moments when the calmness left me …. I’m sure we’ll laugh about them later.  

I always wondered about the decision making process of what to take along in such a situation.  My process was to step back, pray and ponder …. Could I live without this stuff?  I desperately wanted to throw my sewing machines and some of the art on our walls in the RV but knew it wasn’t realistic.  So I grabbed my phone and began taking a video of our possessions room by room … a surreal moment.

Once exhausted and packed up in the RV, we headed out.  We had not discussed with each other where “out” was going to be.  Our daughter called to let us know they were evacuating also and heading south for cleaner air.  She asked us where we were heading … “McDonald’s” we said.  

After loading up on burgers, fries & drinks we headed toward highway 5.  I can’t explain the oddity of driving “somewhere” without having a destination plan.  The fire was coming from the northwest and heading east … so we eventually decided south seemed like a good plan.  

While on southbound Highway 5, we received the “official orders” to evacuate.  The fire had jumped the highway and was headed for the hills directly behind our house.  Reality set in.  We may not have a home to go back to.  It’s that moment when I remember how many times I have claimed God as Sovereign.  I take a pause … a ponder … and claim God, still, sovereign … but, it means more to me now.

We settled in Coalinga for our first night’s stop.  We have not seen blue sky since we left and we all have non Covid headaches and sore throats.  Life gets better when we eat the salad and fruit that had been smashed tightly into the fridge for dinner.  

Quickly, our hearts take a downturn when we plug into our hotspot and view some of the news broadcasts.  Soon, the Holy Spirit peace begins to leave … pressure, tension, tightness … and acid reflux takes its place.  We determine “news” can not change anything in our plight and shut down the hot spot.  Barry plays computer games and I read.  We soon fall into a peaceful sleep … Nighty night.

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