Some things are just plain miraculous.
The day after Thanksgiving, I came home from buying shoes with Dakota and Rhonda told me to check the hot water heater. "There's no hot water," she said, "The pilot light must have gone out."
As much as I hate the inconvenience of household repairs, I hate cold showers even more, so I went downstairs immediately to check the pilot light.
What I found surprised me. The metal door covering the burner was missing and contrary to Rhonda's report, the fire was alight at full force. But to my shock and dismay, a bedsheet had somehow fallen into fiery opening of the heater. The edges of the cloth were just beginning to blacken and smolder. If I had arrived only a few minutes later, I'm sure the house would have burned.
But that's not the strangest part.
After I cleaned the area around the water heater, we checked the settings and discovered the temperature knob turned toward cold. I'm one hundred percent certain that no one in our family turned the knob, but the cold water may have saved our lives. If the water in the house had not gotten cold, I would have had no reason to check the pilot light, and I certainly would not have found the smoldering sheet.
We returned the knob to its normal position, and the hot water resumed.
I have no explanation for what happened, other than to suggest some kind of unseen protection.
As an interesting side note, every Friday I attend the sweat lodge with my uncle Pat, and every Friday he prays in our Indian language. Almost every time, he asks the Creator to protect our people from a standard list of tragedies, including death, illness, accidents, and housefires. I often thought it was strange for him to specifically name housefires in his prayer, but I will never think that way again. In fact, I will be sure to give him this report the next time I see him.