Sunday, August 4, 2013


My Youngest and I were sleeping soundly when the alarms went off in our hotel room this morning. Lights flashed, sirens wailed and there we stood.

I immediately went to check the temperature of our door and peeked out the peep-hole in our door to see what was happening in the hallway. Not much (most likely everyone else was peeping out right along with me at that time).

I expected the sirens to stop and be advised that this was only a false alarm. Instead, they persisted.

Calmly and ever-so-slowly, I made moves to evacuate our room. I put on my sweater, slipped into my shoes, unplugged my phone that was charging and slipped it into my purse and saw that My Son was still standing on the spot. He has been known to sleep walk through his early-morning rituals. So I had to prod him into action.

By the time we made it into the corridor, others were starting to do the same.

My cautiousness was aborted when we made our way to the stairwell. I forgot to check to see if the door was hot before I opened it. As you can tell by the fact that I am sitting here writing this, the stairwell was fine. But this was a good lesson for me.

We made our way outside, along with all of the other guests in the hotel. This all happened in slow motion and no one was in the slightest bit alarmed.

We waited outside and eventually (I hate to say how many minutes later) we heard the wail of sirens in the distance. The fire truck parked at the entrance to the hotel and the fire fighters slowly ambled up the driveway and walked into the hotel. This was followed by another set of emergency people entering on stage left (at this point, I can't remember if they were police, security people or more fire people).

We waited.

You just knew that it was all going to end well because of the way people moved and acted. No one was in a hurry. No one was upset. We were all just 'one of the crowd' who had been ousted out of a sound slumber to stand out in the dark and wait for the all clear signal to return to life-as-we-knew-it.

Eventually, the security guards made their way through the crowd to tell us what they guessed may have caused the alarms to go off. His words were (something to the effect of) "We think that (this) is what happened ..." The lady I was chatting with said exactly what I was thinking - "I'd feel better if you knew what happened". He assured her that they knew that all was well and we were safe to return.

As we stood outside gazing at our hotel, I couldn't help but wonder at the devastation one would feel if they were watching flames engulf their home. As I stood outside with My Son, my purse, phone and car keys I knew if  all was lost, we would simply lose what we had packed for a five-day vacation.

Visions of my work on our family book project going up in smoke were dispelled by the fact that I had a copy of The Book at home, as well as a saved copy on a USB drive in a separate location.

When I packed for this vacation, I knew that I must safeguard my work on our family's book project. As I stood outside of our hotel last night, I was satisfied that a contingency plan was in place.

In the whole scheme of things, it is that which lives and breathes that is of utmost importance. If we can safeguard other treasures, we should. But when it comes to placing importance on material matter? In my books, that which can be replaced should not be idolized.

I will never become rich, but I am rich in that which takes priority in my life. I can still lose what is important, but I hope that the pain of that loss is lessened by knowing that I placed great value on that-which-cannot-be-replaced while I had it.

Our false alarm was just that. But it helped reaffirm that my values are still where I want them to be. And for that ... I am grateful.

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