So, this morning we were awakened at 8am by the harsh, blaring sound of the fire alarm ringing throughout our hotel.
Jolted out of a restful state of sleep, our immediate reaction was to respond by getting up and getting out.
As we prepared to leave our hotel room, you could hear a little chaos in the hallway, but not much. The alarm still continued to sound!
We got ourselves together; I glanced at the back of our hotel door from across the room to get a view of the fire escape map. Things seemed to settle down inside the hallway a bit, but the alarm continued to sound loudly.
Then it stopped.
My husband says, “You still respond to the plan – you go even if the alarm stops.” So, we grabbed our bags and shoes, then we left the room.
As we walked down the hall (sort of on auto-pilot), I couldn’t help but notice that it was me, my husband, a young man behind us, and one person trailing far behind him.
My husband and I along with the young man were walking fairly quickly as we headed for the stairwell. I don’t recall seeing that fourth person ever come through the door and down the stairwell behind us.
When we got to the stairwell I said,“Maybe it was just a test to see if we all would respond.” But as we got further to the bottom of the stairwell, the aroma of something having been burnt was in the air.
When we arrived downstairs, the lobby was full of life: people eating breakfast, business meetings, and a cheeky hotel staff. Outside, firemen in full uniform and firefighting gear were moving about hurriedly. Two totally different existences. So my husband commissioned me to ask the staff what was happening.
Burnt toast. Someone burnt toast. The same thing had happened two days ago…
We decided that since we were already downstairs, we’d stick around for breakfast. I captured the moment with a few photos, got to meet some of the firemen, and received a toy firetruck from the first responders.
As we prepared our plates, sat down then ate, I thought about the false alarm that rang out as a FIRE alarm – the significance of it, and the fact that hardly anyone took notice of it. Had it been a true emergency, the results may have had a much different ending.
My thoughts journeyed on, and as I reflected, I thought about a plan that was already put in place for all of our benefit.
We often don’t want to respond to alarms in our lives – changes, disruptions, catastrophes – no matter how minor or major. But we have to realize that it behooves us to respond, as our response will lead us down a pre-prepared path that has life-saving results. What if it had been a REAL FIRE? How many lives would have been changed simply because we didn’t take it seriously or feel like dealing with the chaos?
As my husband and I talked more about the experience during breakfast, he shared that the plan is the same – fitting for any environment – just like we learned in elementary school. The alarm resounds, and we respond by following the universal plan for making it out alive. The perfectly prepared plan and path is already set to work for our good. All we have to do is respond – and the perfect outcome will come with ease.
– P.S., Kaye –