You may be wondering why I'm driving in nothing but my PJ's and glasses...aggressively squinting at roadwork signs through foggy lenses on a dark smoky one-lane freeway at night.
And I can explain this all in one word: Escape.
As soon as my head hit the pillow, it came. Just 5 seconds from me chirping my routine "Good night, love you!" to my family, it hit.
Then rose a synchronized, knowing moan from our two separate rooms. My freshly-22-year-old sister and I were all too familiar with this assaulting aroma from exactly a year before. Our family dog, Jazzy, had encountered a skunk once again. And, if I learned anything from the nightmare experience last year, I knew this time I just had to...RUN!
By the grace of God, this happened just after the Birthday festivities (which were as low-key as most of our get-togethers: takeout and a movie) and before I was able to sprawl my stuff out and fully unpack for what I had planned to be a 4-night stay.
Without a second thought, I packed my things back up, spilling and recollecting them along the way, and muttered a "Bye, I love you!" as I bolted out the door, trying to escape the skunk scent I could feel in my pores, even with my nose plugged. The uncomfortable 40 minute trek to my apartment was nothing compared to the alternative.
In the 3 minutes of exposure, I got out mostly scot free, unlike last time, but the aftertaste of the experience still lingers when I get in my car...
As for my family? They're recovering. I was recently informed that the only casualties were a blanket and a couch.
But, in all seriousness, it's a horrible feeling when something strikes your home. We're lucky we only had to deal with a skunk. Many people are dealing with much, much worse! My heart goes out to those affected by all the recent fires - especially in Redding, California. As of today, the Carr Fire has taken 1,000+ residences and 20+ commercial structures and is just above 50% contained (for recent updates, see here).
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the heaviness of something that I feel I can't help. But the truth is, we can help - not by carrying the weight alone, but by joining together. GoFundMe has provided a verified list of campaigns to contribute to and help victims of the Carr Fire. Please join me in giving however you feel led. Every little bit counts!
And, whatever you're going through, whether it's simply an off day or a full-blown tragedy - even if you're doing well, I pray that you grow brighter and brighter through great love.