Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scene in the Barnyard, Take 1

What did you do this weekend? Us? Oh, we hosted a congregation of the county's volunteer fire department and a handful of police officers in our barnyard. Yes, mix a half dozen pick-up trucks with flashing blue lights, a fire truck, a first responder vehicle, and an anhydrous tank spewing potentially deadly ammonia and you are talking good times. See, I'm not joking when I tell you it is like a zoo at my house. Or, in the case of this weekend, a haz-mat training exercise.

A light breeze blew, puffy clouds drifted across the sky, and warm sunshine drew the cats from the barn on Saturday. The kids played, finished chores, and practiced flag football. I worked around the house, trying to get ahead of the constant clutter that seems to sprout behind them whenever they are home. A knock sounded at the kitchen door and I opened it to find a strange man standing there. (He was strange in the sense that he was not known to me, not that he was odd--I didn't talk to him long enough to know that.)

He motions behind him toward the barn. "Your anhydrous tank has a leak."

I peer around his shoulder. "Oh, so it does. That's odd. It's been there for two days with no trouble."

"My wife just called 911. If the wind changes direction, you better get out of the house."

Oh, no. That's not good. "Umm...okay. Thanks. I'll call my husband."

Anhydrous ammonia can be fatal if inhaled and there have been farmers killed in our area by it. However, this situation was not really that dire. The leak was small; not a full-blown eruption like would happen in an accident or a roll-over. It could have been taken care of by my hubby without involving half the county. But I'm glad the man stopped to let me know. It might have turned out differently if it had been the kids that noticed it.

So, within about five minutes of the 911 call, vehicles lined the road in front of our house. A fire truck sat in my driveway and helmeted firemen swarmed the barnyard. I chatted with the sheriff's deputies parked in the driveway, upwind from the fumes rolling from the front of the tank. It took two volunteer firefighters in their work clothes, a few cranks bare-handed and the leak was fixed. Needless to say, the firemen who took the time to suit up were disappointed that all the action happened so fast.

I invited the officers to stay and eat something since they made the call just to be turned back without any action, but they said they'd just eaten lunch. My husband's pick-up truck carted the ammonia tankers away later that day, leaving no evidence of the ordeal except some really green grass.

A few hours later, I mentioned something to Jot and finished by saying, "...when the fire truck was here."

"What? There was a fire truck here today? When?"

All that excitement and Jot missed it. While he played a video game, an entire scene from an action adventure movie played out just outside the window. That got me to thinking about the danger that surrounds our kids daily and what my role is as their protector.

Life is difficult and there are a lot of scary things out there. It is a delicate balancing act trying to protect our kids without scary the Gee-Willackers out of them. Our kids are immersed in a culture that would steal them from us in a heartbeat, if we are not careful to protect them. From video games with suspect themes, to neighborhood bullies, to bio-terrorism, to H1N1, to cyber-predators, our kids need for us to stand between them and the world that would do them harm.

The Bible tells us a world that is unseen to our eyes exists. Wars are waged; battles are fought, all without our knowledge. Forces battle to steal, kill, and destroy our faith and our very lives. What sights we would behold if our human eyes could only see the scene playing out just above our heads! Just like Jot played comfortably in his safe home with his mama looking out for him, when we stay within the protection of God's care, battles are fought around us that we can't even fathom.

Aren't you glad you have a Protector who will keep you safe from harm too?

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