Last week when South Dakota's Senator Tim Johnson suffered a brain hemorrhage, the nation went berserk speculating about the balance of political power that might result from his precarious health. Give me strength. Although the question certainly hung in the air, a little respect for the man was in order. How about prayers and good wishes for his recovery? The balance won’t shift until such time as the Senator is no longer able to serve, and until then…
But it just goes to show that anything can happen to alter life as we know it.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I received a phone call yesterday afternoon from the senior warden at my church. A small fire had broken out at the church in a room under the choir loft. The copy machine had melted (though not entirely), and was thought to be the culprit. Thank goodness the roof is in the process of being replaced, because it was the roofers who saw the smoke and called 911. Had they not been there, chances are high that the church would have burned to the ground, or at least damaged significantly.
This morning I made a trip to the church to check out the damage first hand. While I was there a representative from the fire marshal’s office stopped by, and he determined that an electrical short was to blame. The fire was contained to the room that had been serving as a bizarre storage area: odds and ends, Christmas decorations (that we had removed the previous day to decorate the church!), the copy machine, a refrigerator, the Sunday ledger of receipts, and other miscellaneous bits and pieces. A slightly humorous note: some sheet music survived the mini inferno, titled “In the wake of new disaster,” (it was written post-Katrina).
Things don’t look bad, but the pros have been there and given the place the white glove test. We didn’t pass. Anywhere. Smoke damage may not be visible to the naked eye, but it is omnipresent, as is the odor of burned plastic, rubber, and other assorted items. The smell was toxic, and I’m praying that my lungs recover quickly! It remains to be seen if we’ll be able to worship in the church on Sunday. Service Master has committed itself to cleaning the parish hall, but they were certain they couldn’t clean the nave and sanctuary in time. All we really need cleaned to worship is the pews. Either that, or we can all wear our best “get grubby and dirty” clothes for Christmas services.
Sigh. Anything can happen.