Friday, June 22, 2007

Baptism by Flood, III

Cormorant Rising
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
My computer scientist husband had dropped his computer and grabbed my raincoat as the water hit us. It was as if his words were saying out loud what I had already felt God doing – holding onto me, in death, or better yet, in life.

Kevin had hooked his feet on something as the rush of water, rocks, and vehicles swept over and around us, so that we weren’t swept into the ravine. Then the rush of water was past and we were in about six inches of fast moving water. Kevin said, “You have to get up and walk now.” I tried, but fell down in the water. I started to crawl. He said, “No, you have to walk.” I stood up and walked. We saw a tree, there were hands reaching down to us. I took them, we crawled up and began embracing a man in the dark who kept saying Alhumdullillah [“All praise belongs to God” –dan] as he cried.

After a time, Kevin said he was too cold to stay in the tree any longer. He said he would see if it seemed safe for us to try to go back up to the road. (We had no idea if and when another rush of water would come, and it was still raining hard.) Kevin soon came back with Leslie, who was wandering around semi-conscious. He was hurt.

I held on to Leslie. Kevin went away, and came back after some time, telling of helping some badly injured people to be lifted up to the road. We walked back to the road side and were pulled up onto it by many hands. We were all directed into homes where people were taking us in.

In the house, all of us flood refugees, covered in mud, were offered tea. One man looked at me a while and said, “You are the one who told me to get out of my car. Thank you.”

Another man went to see what had happened to all the cars. He reported that they were all swept away. I still had my traveling handbag, and in it were wheat-free cookies I had baked for Kevin in an airtight container. I passed them around the room. A little girl, whose mother had left to see if she could find her husband, from whom they had been separated, wound up sitting in my lap, as the cookies had ended up with me.

After listening to us speak English for a while, she looked up at Kevin and began to sing, “Happy Birthday to you” in English. What was uncanny was that she had no idea that it was, indeed, Kevin’s birthday. That was simply the only English she, at the age of three, knew.

Some of the women took me and gave me a bath and dressed me in clean clothes. Safaa and Sahar somehow found us, and Sahar told of having tried to help many dying people. She bound Leslie’s arm in a splint. We worried about Amine and Samya. I had theological conversations with people who commented on the fact that I was wearing my cross and had my Bible in my bag.

One said God must love me – that’s why I was saved. I reacted as strongly as I have ever reacted to anyone saying, “NO! God loves each and every person who died tonight just as much as God loves me.” We didn’t know yet that Samya, who had been standing next to me, had been killed.

By Karen, who has the soul of a lion


At 6/25/07, 5:07 PM, Blogger brd said...

Amazing story. Thanks for sharing it.


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