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Our Wake-up Call
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By N/A
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Our Wake-up Call

Come morning,
our house stood intact
peace and safety sure,
no charred walls, flames or stench.

Come morning,
we thrived, intact
nerves, headaches
and eardrums settled.

Our last supper hour
had turned to a startling test —
from a double alarm drill
that wouldn’t quit, causing a panic
I couldn’t keep private.

Two smoke detectors
ringing out their rebellion
unyielding, against some
mysterious source not apparent to us,
unless it was a slightly over-heated cookie pan
(the detector outside the kitchen
doesn’t like these pans, and had
initiated the disruption, but relaxed
after the first few moments).

Once set off, the others
refused to cease their shrill and
demanding alerts, sending me running
upstairs and down,
(my slightly-disabled husband
cannot move real fast)
to find the trigger to what was becoming
terror in me.

I phoned a close friend and neighbour
who managed to hear me over the commotion,
and rushed over. Once satisfied
there was no valid danger, he soon dismantled
the out-dated models.

Our daughter, my husband myself
and the frenzied cat which had retreated
to the basement’s quiet, all
beyond bearing the sound, the stress, and
confounded as to the culprit source.

Come morning, the epiphany was clear,
and I acknowledged God’s timely message.

The previous day we’d just installed a new detector
in the basement, as per new fire department rules
due to a recent local rampage of
unnecessary and fatal fires,
and while in the hardware stores,
I’d pointed out the printed legal guidelines
from the City,
posted in the fire detector section,
and pushed for replacing
the wired-in older models too,
the one upstairs and the one directly below,
on the main floor.

But we’d left with only a fresh one
for the basement, for now.

Beyond coincidence
that very evening’s bleating
attacked our heads and ears,
let alone pumped up our heartbeats,
when the older models once launched in protest
refused to give us peace. Was an actual
incendiary source at hand?

Soon satisfied there was no danger,
our friend dismantled them,
calmly advising “better get new ones,
these are past the time limit.”
Embarrassment and irony
burned less than a worse outcome might have,
and I tried to mute my “I told you so’s.”

I spent the next hours
with my eyes, ears, (the latter still throbbing)
mind and nose at alert.

Come morning,
my sense of injury and depression
from the assault slowly lifted to relief
as the light of the answer uplifted me —
God’s timing had been right on!

In one of His tougher appeals
He’d spoken out
to show us the way, once again.


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Submitted: Thursday, March 9, 2006

Last Updated: Thursday, March 9, 2006

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