I’m afraid of fire alarms. Like, really afraid, can keep me up at night if I let it, afraid.
I know it’s a silly fear, especially since I know how it started.
I was in the third grade and was sent to the office to drop off something for my third-grade teacher, Ms. Ely.
When I finished my task, Mr. Peterson told me something and I couldn’t understand him. Instead of asking him to repeat himself, I just nodded my understanding and made my way back to the classroom.
This happened a lot and I still nod my head when I don’t understand someone, even after asking several times. Eventually, I just give up and nod my head in agreement.
Almost back to my classroom, I had just passed the girl’s bathroom and was practically skipping down the hall. When I was just under the fire alarm when it went off.
Somethings to note:
- I attended a VERY old elementary school at the time and the fire alarm was GIGANTIC and LOUD.
- I have very sensitive ears to mechanical/electrical noises.
- It was at the moment, I realized what Mr. Peterson must have said. “Hurry back to your classroom. We’re about to have a fire drill.”
- Looking back, I really should have asked him to repeat himself.
I cannot tell you what happened after that, because I don’t remember. I do know that is when my fear of fire alarms started.
It’s not the actual noise part that scares me, it’s more of the – it could go off at any time especially when I’m vulnerable …
- Wake me from sleep
- Find me in the shower – NAKED and covered in soap
The fear wasn’t too terrible when I was younger… I can only remember a few times it really affected my life.
The biggest was a family trip to the mountains and our hotel had a loft to sleep in. My sister and I were excited to sleep up in the loft together.
Brushing our teeth, climbing up to the top, I was ready to sleep up with the angels.
I pulled up the covers and saw the blinking red light of death. The fire alarm was right at my feet.
Let’s just say, I slept downstairs that night alone, sadly disappointed in myself.
My fire alarm fears didn’t affect me too much until I was in college. I knew all of the stories about girls in the shower when the fire alarm went off and they had to run outside, in the cold with shampoo in their hair.
THAT WAS NOT going to happen to me.
My solution: I had to shower before 7 pm every night. I never showered in the morning, because I had long, thick hair and blow-drying it would take forever. I’m a night owl, so getting up early to bathe WASN’T ever going to happen.
I reasoned the fire alarm tests would be in the evening, later around 8 or 9 to make sure most people are in the dorm.
My other fear was potential fire alarms from fellow college students would also be later at night, after the dinner hour when they would burn popcorn in the microwave or set boiled eggs on fire (which happened my junior year).
I spent many a night, struggling to fall asleep and watching the blinking red light of death just torturing me as I tried to sleep. Unable to defend against a stray college student’s hunger pains late at night.
Fast forward to the home I was able to buy in 2016 with God’s miraculous help. A brand new house with the fire alarms BUILT IN!
Up until this point, at the house, I grew up in. I never had an alarm in my own bedroom. Houses that are over 150 years old don’t have fire alarms built-in so it’s not a struggle.
I can’t turn this one off. It doesn’t have an owner who is terrified and needs to shut off switch.
I make it through by making sure the batteries are changed twice a year. As long as the batteries aren’t going to die, I should be okay, right?
Cue November 2019 and I’m out on medical leave because of migraines. The batteries haven’t been changed at all this year… Now, I’m spending a lot of time in the house, alone with the blinking red light.
The power goes out… O Lord, what about the batteries? Is there enough juice. It’s been almost a year.
Light still blinks, but much more slowly and it is always red. Why can’t it be a pretty blue?
As I lay there, trying to sleep. I begin to panic until God whispers into my heart, “I’ve got this. You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve got you… Remember!”
And I do remember… in the summer of 2014, I got up REALLY early to go out to write one Saturday morning. (This was before I started to get up extremely early every Saturday in 2018, I was still very much a night owl.)
I don’t know why I woke up. It wasn’t the plan, but my eyes popped open and I knew I wasn’t getting back to sleep. I snuck out of the house and made my way to the library to write.
When I got home later that morning. I found my Mom sitting in the living room looking exhausted. I asked her what was wrong and she said the fire alarm batteries for the whole house went off because it had been a year and they needed to be changed.
That was over five fire alarms going off and once. I missed hearing them by less than an hour because something or should I say, someone, woke me up early to go writing.
God was gently reminding me that He took care of me then and He would take care of me now.
I have some very specific fears about the fire alarms going off. Especially my poor puppies being left with the noise because no one is home. Other fears of a similar nature trouble me and as I laid there that night with the power off and the slow red light of evil blinking.
My God reminded me, “Baby Girl, I’ve got this and all of your other fears, too!”
Words I desperately needed to hear, and not just about the fire alarm, either.
Maybe you have something you’re afraid of, something that might be silly to others, but terrifies you. Or, maybe your fears of something big that would scare anyone.
Know that we serve a great big God who can handle our little fears and our big ones too. Just ask Him, talk to Him, let Him tell you about it Himself.
Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,