From the moment a child is born, a blanket becomes a symbol of security. The feelings of warmth and comfort found in the mother's womb are now provded by the swaddling of a blanket. I had many blankets in my home. Some served not only functionally providing warmth, but to also providing decor in a room. Others were toys, covered a spot on the furnitue, or were kept to be used at picnics and parades. Some blankets had been purchased commercially, while others had been given to us by those we loved. It always felt as you wrapped yourself in one of these latter blankets, that you were wrapping yourself in the love of the person who so carefully crafted that blanket for you.
The morning after our house was destroyed by fire, my husband and I met with a friend who brought us a charger for a cell phone. He mentioned that he was going over to the remains of our home to visit with one of the firemen that was still on the scene. My husband asked him to look and see if anything could be salvaged from the wreckage. I especially felt compelled to ask if my cedar chest could be found. This simple request is how the miracle of the blankets began.
My great-aunt had left me her cedar chest when she died. Aunt Florence had been very special in my life as a child. She had never married and so looked on us as her surrogate grandchildren. She was always there for us in times of trouble and I have felt her presence since her death many times. She has continued to be a guardian angel in my life. The knowledge of her continued protection led me to believe that if anything could be salvaged, it would be the cedar chest.
Our friend did call to say that the chest had been able to be removed from the home. Its placement near the patio doors of my bedroom had allowed the firemen to pull it out with a pole. While the chest itself was severely damaged on the outside, the contents remained safe and secure, not even the smell of smoke. This chest contained my wedding dress, the outfits my children wore when they were blessed/christined and blankets made for them by my mother-in-law embroidered with their names. The comfort I received knowing that my children would have something from their childhood gave me the strength to face that first morning.
Our second experience in the miracle of the blankets was the recovery of Emily's blankie. Emily had received her blankie her first Christmas. When my children had been born, my grandmother had made them each a blanket. By the time Emily was born, my grandmother had passed away. Knowing how much a special blankie had meant to each of our other children, Rick's sister-in-law made Emily the purple blankie.
We moved to St. George two days after that Christmas. By the time we reached our new house, it was late and I couldn't find the bedding that held our bedding, but I could find our Christmas presents. After assembling the crib, I was able to fold the blanket in half (yes it is that large) to place in the crib and that is where Emily slept. She has slept with the purple blankie ever since. Even in 100+ degree temperatures, naps are not taken without the blankie.
The blankie was made by tying to pieces of fleece together. There was one particular tie that became stretched out as Emily would lay with her thumb in her mouth and tickling her nose with the end. Even after she stopped sucking her thumb, she would comfort herself by tickling her nose with the piece of the blankie. The night of the fire, there were many tears shed over the loss of the blankie. Luckily she had been brought a special doll that she held to sleep that first night.
When we went to reclaim the cedar chest, Rick walked around the outside of our home with the fire chief. When he looked through the broken window of what had been the girls' room, sitting on the bed was the purple blankie just as it been left. The fire chief was able to reach into the room and retrieve this precious item.
Emily was overjoyed. She monitored the washer through three wash cycles and was the first in the room when the dryer buzzed. Everything is right in Emily's world again.
Our son Wil has shut down after the fire. He was at work when it occurred and I had one of the officers I work with go and get him before he heard it from someone else. When he arrived at his grandma's house, he went and hid. This is what he used to do as a small child whenever he was afraid or couldn't handle a situation. The day after the fire he became very ill. The doctor diagnosed strep, but Wil did not seem to respond to the medication. He still refused to talk about anything related to his feelings. I couldn't help but feel that the illness he was experiencing was a physical manifestation of the turmoil inside that he was unwilling to express.
Finally several days later, after I will admit much pestering on my part, he finally said that the thing he was going to miss most was his comforter. He had won his comforter at a family reunion and loved it because it was unique. It was handmade and not store bought like everyone else's. He knew there was not another like it in the world, just as there is not another Wil in all the world. Out of all the things he could have said that he would miss the most, I was surprised to learn that it was this. At the time, I was unsure when I would ever be able to make him a new comforter. Later that afternoon, I received a call from a friend wanting to know the size of my children's beds. She told me that she felt that she should make comforters for all of them.
There are other blankets we have received over the week that have brought comfort to us. There is a piece of fleece that now covers the tears in a loveseat we were given; a soft brown blanket that decorates the back of our new sofa and perfectly matches the pillows I had purchased to decorate the living room. There is the afghan stitched by grandma, that always sat in her living room, that my sister felt impressed to bring to me and it matches the colors of our new bedroom.
Our oldest son, Hunter, is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day in Montana. As I talked to him, I tried to imagine what would go through his mind as he realized that everything he had owned and trusted to us to store was gone as well. We reassured him that we were alright and that he needed to be where he was.
The Monday following the fire he wrote us two very powerful letters. Both letters were filled with hope and gratitude for our safety. He let us know that his heart had been filled with comfort and that he knew that the Lord had us on His watchlist. He ended with the following scripture from the LDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 31:
5 Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live.
6 Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them.
He let us know that he knew he could continue to serve the people in Montana with his full heart, because he knew that the Lord would take care of us and prepare a place for us.
The morning following the receipt of this letter, we went to the remains of our house to meet with the insurance adjustor. Lying on the driveway was what appeared to be a comforter still enclosed in the plastic. My first thought was that one of the heavy comforters I had stored away in my closet for the summer had been saved. Instead it was Hunter's tiger blanket received for perfect attendance at Hurricane High School.
Of all the awards he had received during his high school career, this was the one most sought after. This blanket had been in his bedroom, stored with the rest of his items, in the part of the house unrecognizable due to the fire. Yet this blanket had survived without even the plasic being melted.
The Lord is watching out for us. Daily we are receiving blessings. He has wrapped us both figuratively and literally in His love and shown us His mercy through the blessing of blankets.