Me: “Sit right here by this fountain and I will take your picture.”
She sits down, whining and complaining. I get my phone out and open the camera app. Then she flashes a fake smile for the camera.
Me: “Oh…come on… Give me a REAL smile.”
(I think to myself, oh, it’s Jace. I’ll call him back. But something told me to answer.)
Me: “Hold on. J.C. is calling. (I answer phone) Hello?!”
J.C.: (In a very panicked voice) “Hey babe. It’s me. The house is on fire and it’s bad. It’s going to burn to the ground. I just wanted you to know.”
(I was in Hot Springs for a relaxing girls weekend)
Me: “You’re kidding me right?”
J.C.: “No, I’m not.”
I couldn’t think. I couldn’t really even talk. I’m not sure I could even breath. As I started to crumble, I got my thoughts together just enough to ask the important questions.
Me: “Is Scooter out? Are you out? Are you okay?”
J.C.: “Yes, he’s out and I’m burned but I’m okay. I have to let you go but I will call you back later.”
And that’s all I can really remember. At this point, she knew something BAD was wrong but couldn’t put it all together. She was holding my arm and silently praying for peace (she told me later). I got off the phone with J.C. and told her what was happening back home. Three ladies appeared from out of nowhere and saw us crying in the middle of the sidewalk. They could see that something was wrong. They stopped to check on us, ask us what was going on, and pray for my tragic situation. It was like they were angels. They prayed the sweetest prayer. I murmured a “thank you” at the time but I wish I could say “thanks a million” again.
She, my best friend since I was 12, Alicia, told me to get in the car. “I’ll drive you home. Let’s go.” She also made some phone calls back home to get people to head over to our house to help J.C. with whatever they could.
On the way home, I got a MILLION phone calls and made a few as well. I would breakdown into tears every time I got on the phone. Yet every time I wasn’t on the phone, she was trying to life my spirits and make me laugh. My tragedy had cut our girls weekend in Hot Springs a little short, but it didn’t bother her. She was there for me. And not just that day.
She bought me clothes, gave me extra clothes hangers she had in her closet, brought us food, etc., etc., etc.! With the help of some of our close family and friends, she also co-hosted a housewarming shower for J.C. and I at our church.
She’s been there for 12 years and she was there for me then. Then… the other day she told me that she was finished with my “surprise.” She had been working on it for months, teasing me by telling me it was a surprise, but not what it was exactly.
Alicia: “Close your eyes.”
I closed my eyes and held out my hands. I opened my eyes for one second and immediately began to cry. She had given me this.
Y’all it is so special. It looks JUST like our old house. To the T! See, here’s a pic of our house that I posted on Instagram last winter.
J.C. and I came home from our honeymoon to this very house. We lived there for a little over 6 years. The memories. The smiles, hugs, arguments, crying sessions, love, laughs, jokes, prayers said, kisses, dinners eaten, movies watched, games played, family gatherings, etc.! So much had gone on in that house. I know it’s just a house and I knew we were moving, but I never wanted it to “end” that way.
I had been thinking that I would love for somebody to paint or draw our house, because it is mostly still standing, just ruined on the inside. She read my thoughts. So many people helped us, gave food and money to us, called, text, prayed… and the list goes on and on. I am so thankful and feel so blessed that God has placed so many thoughtful, loving, caring people in our lives. It meant so much to the both of us during such a difficult time. So, when she gave me that watercolor painting of our home, all of those thoughts, feelings, and emotions came flooding back to me.
We truly appreciate every kind thing that was done for us and this painting was kind of like icing on the cake. It will definitely be placed in a prominent area of our new home, so that we can see it every day 🙂