Smoke alarm drama & the Holy

The only photo I had that seemed to indicate drama

A little drama in our little house in the woods this morning!

And yesterday morning. And the day before.

I crumpled newspaper, laid kindling, carried seven logs into the mouth of our wood stove. Lit the match. Good morning, wood stove. Good morning, fire. Ahhh, sweet warmth on a cold 21 degree morning.

Barry and I chatted on the couch with coffee. When suddenly–BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! YANG! YANG! YANG! BEEP, BEEP, ENDLESS BEEP!

The damn–but appreciated–smoke alarm screamed throughout the house. We searched for smoke like conscientious homeowners. None. Nada. Not a bit.

It ceased its endless caterwauling, just like yesterday and the day before.

We heaved sighs of relief.


Girls listening to fire trucks at a 4th of July parade

“Shall I open the basement door?” I shouted above the yelling round blasting disc.


This was the third day of such illicit unprompted unappreciated behavior. We’re at a loss. It carries on; it stops; it continues yammering. Talk about something getting on your nerves way too early in the morning!

Suddenly in the midst of this smoke alarm drama–suddenly, just like that–my mind went totally silent. And I remembered. Turn toward the Holy. Turn toward the silence. Without even using words I remembered to wake up to Spirit. Pay attention. Holy, I am paying attention. Is there anything you are trying to say, oh Great Spirit of everything in the human realm?

No answer comes today. But it’s enough. Suddenly something inside is paying attention to what’s going on beneath and around and in-between the drama. Something is turning toward the Larger Picture that reveals itself in silence.

Barry suggests we unplug the smoke alarm from its electrical wires and clean it out. The instructions advise cleaning the device annually and it’s never been done. We’ll spray with the air hose tonight before trying to enjoy coffee tomorrow morning.

Smoke alarm bad boy

Something similar happened during the closet-cleaning spree. (OK, guys, I PROMISE to quit talking about cleaning the closet SOON.) I was tossing, wiping, vacuuming, singing, thinking about a trillion pertinent things when–OW!–the head moved too abruptly upward and hit one of the shelves.

It didn’t hit hard, oh concerned reader. Just a wee fierce sting.

My mind totally silenced and turned toward the Holy. Ohhh…yes…I remember now. I had vowed to devote this closet-cleaning to You. To Presence. To staying steadfast with You. And then promptly forgot about it!

I cleaned the rest of the closet holding hands with the Silence, feeling the joy of Christmas music playing in the background, sensing the body. Present. Not lost in thoughts and the dream of only being Kathy. Holy & me groovin’ with some closet cleaning.

Fire and Holy

Do I believe God beeped the smoke alarm or bammed the head just to prove a point?

No, indeed.

The point is we can use smoke alarms and bumps and other human dramas to re-center in the Holy. To return to Presence.

Or we can swear up a storm.

Or both.

It is an opportunity. Just another possibility to turn toward love instead of anger. To open the heart instead of close it. To turn to Holy instead of smashin’ the smoke alarm. When we can. When it’s possible.

And don’t be thinking I’m some Saint of Catastrophes, always turning toward the Holy Spirit when things go wrong. Nope. I can be as fierce in my resistance as the next guy.

But I love it when this happens–this Holy Silence–this turning toward love. And vow to court it like a beloved. Please, dear God, let me turn back toward You again and again and again and again, even in small boo-boos and annoyances. As we say in my childhood church: Lord, Hear our prayer.

Day 37 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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15 Responses to Smoke alarm drama & the Holy

  1. Susan D. Durham says:

    That is the coolest “drama” picture I’ve ever seen. And isn’t it telling that out of the thousands of photos you have, that one came is the only one that came close? Wow!

    We had a similar experience last month with smoke/fire alarms going off randomly. Like right after you’re out of the shower, or in the middle of the night incidents. Turns out that they, too, required a cleaning, which they hadn’t yet gotten for the year. Everyone was getting pretty tired of being roused at various times, and wondering if there was a real fire, or not. Thank goodness, not, and that the buggers work.

    Have had those surprise head-bumpings, too. How wonderful of you to turn to the silence, the Holy, to realize we have the wherewithal to do that instead of a, b, c. Love it!

    May your day be filled with peace, the Holy, and love, Love.

    • Kathy says:

      Guess what that “drama” picture really was, Susan? Fireworks! Over the Keweenaw Bay. That turned out–weird, dramatic–on the camera. And then I may have doctored the pic, most probably. Thanks for sharing your alarm scenario. It can be so challenging when the darn things go off! I think it’s pretty hard to remember to look for the Holy when these things are happening–but it’s possible. Love to you my friend. ❤

  2. jeffstroud says:

    Kathy, what I fun story! Only in real life can we find the stuff stories are created from.
    I had the smoke alarm go off several times in a row a few weeks back. The over turned high, too much oil on the sheet pan to roast veggies. Oh clean the oven the first time, really who does that. Open windows to let out the smoke, turn the diffuser on to cleanse the air. It’s all in days filled with cooking and baking…
    Holy is always present looking out for us. It is we who have built in “forgetters” as a friend like to call our loss of memory when we get out of balance, starting to rant and rave that the everyday stuff that yesterday one didn’t even concern themselves with.

    I’m glad your all safe, Holy guided you to check the alarm… Wake up time!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, I am so glad you enjoyed this little story. It was so fun to write, and to figure out what smoke alarms had to do with the Holy. I love making ordinary things–that no one would ever think of as spiritual–into something Holy. Oh dear about your smoke alarm dramas! Your roasted veggies, though, sound really good. Hope you were able to resurrect them and they didn’t burn too badly.

      • jeffstroud says:

        Everything has its connection to spirit. Our ancient ancestors communed with everything living thing, along with the air, water, seasons, and so on… It is the ordinary “things” that if our attention to our intent gives those “things” meaning and power.
        The roasted veggies were fine, and delish.

  3. Opportunity knocks in unexpected ways – but hey – I hope tomorrow you get to peacefully enjoy the coffee and the fire.

  4. Joanne says:

    A friend on Facebook told the story the other day of picking up a folder and out fell a photo she had never seen before of her father. She picked it up, and said, “I remember, Dad”. The photo was her reminder that the next day was the 40th anniversary of her father’s passing.
    Wouldn’t you think your reminders could be a tad gentler, Kathy?? Maybe that could be your next prayer … “I’m doing my best to remember to honour your spirit, but if I forget, can you please find a gentler way to remind me, other than deafening me or bruising my head?” 😉

    • Kathy says:

      How interesting, Joanne. I really don’t think the smoke alarm misfunctioning was necessarily a reminder from Spirit for anything. Smoke alarms malfunction all the time, and sometimes we just hit our head in the closet. I wasn’t looking at these as reminders from Spirit, although the head bump did remind me of my previous intention.. It’s rather like—things that seem bad or negative can happen at any time. Instead of fighting or moaning it can just be another opportunity to turn toward Presence or Spirit. And something can be revealed in the silence—even a reminder. But I do always prefer gentle reminders, and they happen all the time.

      • Joanne says:

        Oh I’m sure there was a reason why your smoke alarms went off, other than the practical explanation. Spirit plays a far greater role in all of our lives than any of us are aware of. 😉

  5. Tilly travel says:

    Loving these posts Kathy, it’s nice to be reminded to stop and listen in this mad, mad times

    Bright blessings

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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