I received an e-mail last week describing a man and his wife (Dr. Lou and Martha Jander) that had retired to TX after many years of faithful service to the LCMS. On Sunday afternoon, September 4, he was watching TV when there was a loud knock at the door. He was told he had 15 minutes to evacuate his house. He talked about how fast those 15 minutes went trying to gather everything important. They gathered a few important things, their dogs, and each took one of their cars. Everything they now own from 45 years of marriage is now in one of their cars.
It got me to thinking, if I had 15 minutes, what would I try to save from my house? Some of the things that I would try to save are packed up and might not be possible to find in just 15 minutes.
1. photos-I have several boxes at different points ready to scrapbook-I would grab a few boxes and of course the scrapbooks, but probably wouldn't be able to sort through which boxes were the most important
2. quilts from my grandma and family linens like that-again, they are organized in different places in our house-not sure I could find the right ones
3. not all my china, but there are some pieces in the china cupboard that I would want to take-not realistic to pack those up so they wouldn't break
4. I know there are certain books that Ram would want-not realistic to choose the old books from my grandfather etc. in just 15 minutes
5. Important things for the Lambs-not realistic to go through a couple of tubs of baby clothes and pick out my favorites. I do have their blankets from baptism in small tubs in their closet. If there was room I could take those 3 tubs, but not a whole lot would be saved there.
6. I would try to take our computer as much information and photos since the Lambs were born is on there.
7. My great grandma's hymnal
8. Christmas ornaments-that is what I often get as a souvenir on vacations plus lots of homemade ornaments-again not time to choose which ones in 15 minutes
9. Practical sense says to take a change of clothes and my purse but know that wouldn't be as important as the other items listed above-not sure I could grab a change of clothes for all 5 of us while grabbing everything else.
Things that I would not take-
1. Anything that could be replaced.
2. My wedding gown-right now I only have boys and don't see a daughter wearing it some day. I have photos of our wedding day. (Negatives for our wedding photos are not stored in our house.)
3. We don't have any pets.
4. Family movies-Our parents have copies of our wedding and the Lambs baptisms-don't consider much more of that family camcorded stuff to be important
5. I would really like to take some toys for the Lambs so they wouldn't lose "everything". But I have no idea what to take for them-Legos etc. could be replaced. I think I would probably have them take their matchbox cars as a couple of boxes of those would be easy to take and they would have something to play with when we evacuated. But matchbox cars are not their favorite toys. None of the Lambs have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket etc. They wouldn't understand the seriousness of just 15 minutes to pick toys.
I have a friend that has a bag packed ready to go in case of evacuation-important papers, change of clothes for everyone in the family. I think that is a great idea but wonder if I would really keep up with "updating" that bag with clothes to fit the Lambs and continue to keep important papers in there.
I have a friend that had a house fire and while I don't mean to downplay the consequences of a house fire, she did joke that she never has those boxes in the basement that really should be gone through. Throughout the year I spend hours going through "stuff" and finding a new home for it.
I understand that emergencies like tornadoes or floods or house fires don't always give you the 15 minutes to gather any belongings. I understand that 15 minutes is not very long. But I do think thinking about this is important to see where your values are. Perhaps it will also be a little motivation to pack that emergency bag and get my scrapbook stuff organized a little better. Perhaps it will also be a conversation starter with the Lambs to get them thinking about what is important to them. Lamb 1 thinks EVERYTHING is important to keep-thinking about this would be good for him.
Dr. Jander said in his e-mail that his wife and himself were safe and everything else was just "stuff". He ended his e-mail "To God be the Glory". I pray that if we are ever in a similar situation I can have an attitude like that. I don't know the Janders, but they along with the others from TX are in my prayers. May God give them the strength to go through the long days they have ahead of them after this.