It would take a miracle to fix that furnace.
- Posted on Jan 31, 2011
Here in the Midwest, we’re used to frigid winters, but that morning seemed colder than usual.
Maybe it was because my husband wasn’t sleeping next to me. He had gone out of town on a long trip. It was just me looking after our three daughters. We lived out in the country—no neighbors within shouting distance, and I felt vulnerable. At night I made sure to lock the doors and I prayed God would watch over us.
I’d woken up shivering, with a pounding headache. It was really cold, even for our 170-year-old house. Did our furnace break down? I went downstairs to check. That’s when I saw that the front door was wide open! I shut it and cranked up the thermostat. I’m positive I locked that door last night. Did someone break in? I dashed upstairs. The girls were safe in their beds. I looked around. Nothing was missing.
My teeth chattering, I waited for the furnace to kick in. It didn’t. The draft from the door must have blown the pilot light out. I didn’t know how to relight it. My husband usually took care of things like that. Why did he have to be gone for so long? I called the girls down to breakfast, turning on the oven and shoving the kitchen table near it for warmth.
Once I got the kids off to school and I got to work, I phoned a furnace repairman. “I’ll take a look as soon as I can and call you,” he said.
I got a call back a few hours later. “Your furnace has a leak,” the repairman said, in a tone that seemed to imply more than just a minor problem.
“How soon can you fix it?” I asked, dreading another freezing night.
“Ma’am, you don’t understand,” he said. “Your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide. That’s the type of thing you see on the news, where an entire family dies in their sleep. I’ll install a new furnace tomorrow. Until then, you’ll need to stay somewhere else.”
Immediately I thought of the front door. If it hadn’t somehow gotten open to let the fresh air in…
That breath of fresh air saved our lives—and it made an impression on my husband too. When he got home, he promised never to leave us for so long again.
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