In July of 2006, a series of storms wiped out power to the metro St. Louis region. Almost everyone lost power at some point for some amount of time in 100-degree heat.
For most of a week, we holed up in our basement family room. We scrambled to make sure we had enough candles and batteries to power lanterns. We were without phone service for the first three days. We bought extra drinking water – when we could find it – and getting ice was a longshot each day. And we couldn’t use tap water for drinking as we were simultaneously under a boil order.
I literally saw people on the verge of blows while fighting their way into a line to get at a newly arrived shipment of ice. We had to drive to a neighboring town to get gas, too, so keeping the tank as full as possible become imperative. Driving through town was a nightmare as most of the stoplights were out, including those at many major intersections. Hot and bothered (and with good reason), manners didn’t always apply.
In short, it was bedlam.
I thought about this as we watched continuing coverage of the crisis in Haiti over the weekend. I tried to imagine what that week might have been like if, in addition to all the challenges we already going on, we had no shelter, no food and were suffering serious injuries. I tried to imagine it, but I couldn’t. And I immediately felt simultaneously guilty and grateful. Guilty because I know I was a whiner that whole week. Grateful because I know it could have been so much worse.
So I was already primed to be reduced to tears by these two news stories on NBC Nightly News. The first about a baby delivered by military on the USS Carl Vinson after his mother was pulled from the rubble in labor. The healthy baby boy was appropriately named Vinson.
Then, in what I consider to be a true definition of faith, there was a husband who refused to give up on his wife’s survival.
He just knew she was alive buried beneath the rubble of the bank where she worked. For six days, he held vigil at the bank site and once heavy machinery came in and began clearing debris, he would dutifully run in to check between loads to see if any evidence of survivors had been found.
Six. Days. Of not knowing. I have to think that the lack of food, water and other resources had to pale in comparison to his anguish over his missing and possibly dead wife.
But his faith paid off.
I jumped up and down in my living room as I watched a reporter try to converse with the woman through a small hole in the rubble. I wiped tears and laughed hysterically as rescuers pulled her free. (I wish I was smart enough to figure out how to get these two videos from my RealPlayer library into this file. But alas, I am not. HOWEVER -- Why S. is pretty smart and she got me the video about the baby. Check it out. Thanks, Why!)
If you need some life-affirming messages or just a kick in the pants to stop feeling sorry for yourself, spend a little time watching some of the stories emerging from Haiti. If that doesn't do the trick, you aren't listening.