AQ 4 - 01.24.10

Yesterday Pria stood in my parent’s field & “freed Haitians from the concrete” as she smashed her bare hands into the ice that entrapped the green blades of grass. “It hurt, & my fingers were bloody, but I kept working & I freed a lot of the Haitians.”

We each work things out as we must.

During the earthquake we met one of the angels mentioned in the book of Revelations, though I can’t say much about him since we didn’t hang around to chat. I’m not being flippant or taking this lightly. This is just how I think & write. I was deeply overwhelmed by the power of God on our behalf. I later thought of Stephen, in the book of Acts, being stoned, & I’ve always wondered how he could be described as being peaceful & smiling. I believe God must have numbed him, & us, to the blows he received from the stones, & we received from the concrete during the earthquake. We were also able to run across glass, metal, concrete, & thorns barefooted. There was deep bruising & just a few scrapes. These stories from the Bible were familiar, & the fact that we could recall & now relate was comforting.

During the earthquake I said what I say to our dog all the time, “No, no, no, & go, go, go.” No to the earthquake, & go to the girls. Then, while in the tree & through a night of rumbling I must have said Jesus a thousand times. There’s really nothing that needs to be added to that prayer. That one word, Jesus, is a prayer in itself. I did pray for God’s eyes to see with, & we really did begin to see His hand at work all around us after that. We were then able to cope & move forward. (I had many thoughts that I refused to entertain or share with the girls. We didn’t know what we’d be moving forward into, but there was a 50/50% chance that it could be something good.)

We were in the tree for about 20 minutes. Pria couldn’t see. Her eyes were full of puss & swollen shut. She asked, “How are the worms?” The worms. The worms in the ground? Hmmm. Good question. I am so blessed by the refreshing thoughts of this child.

The animals were quiet. Everyone was quiet. It was too quiet. Then the roosters began crowing & the dogs began barking & there was another big quake.

A white man (Dominique) & a black man with a gun (France) found us in the tree & wanted to know how on earth we got up there. Adrenaline. France carried me to the house of the Canadian man. The house had cracks in its walls, but it had not fallen down. His wife (Anique) stood on their driveway, & we all stayed there through the night.

I wanted to stay near the frame of their car. I remember a firefighter in NYC telling us that during 9-11 they plastered themselves against their trucks in hopes that the vehicle frames would take the brunt of the blow from debris, trees, electrical wires. Pria wanted to hide underneath. I said no. France cradled Pria & she rested, waking every 15 minutes to cry. Her eyes hurt so much. “Why is everyone screaming?” “Because their houses fell down & they don’t know where they’ll live,” I said. I asked France where his family was. Somewhere in the center of all the screams. Yet, he stayed with us all night, patrolling & keeping us as safe as he could in a city with no more security walls to keep us safe from thieves.

Anique gave us squares of chocolate & a water bottle that we shared. She had a first aid kit. We treated Pria as best we could. Dawn, focused & even-keeled, took care of herself. Anique gave me ice from her porch freezer for my swelling legs. The Canadian couple had a porch with chair cushions, rugs & candles. They pulled them all out on to the driveway. They lit the candles & turned off their generator. We didn’t know how long we’d be living on this driveway.

There was a radio, & all of the Canadian community was trying to locate their people. Some had gathered at a place they considered safe. I couldn’t walk, so the Canadian family decided not to join them. I asked that they please try to contact the U.S. Embassy, & tell them the three of us were accounted for. But there was too much chaos, too many things to report & people to account for & the reception was sporadic. It brought me some comfort through the night believing wrongly that my message had been communicated.

In the course of his conversation with fellow Canadians, Dominique said on the radio that he had a six year old child with him who couldn’t see. A few hours later a nurse arrived (Dom) to check on Pria. I’d been opening her eyes & dousing them with water from the water bottle the couple had given us. We’d all been drinking from it, & I felt like I was contaminating her eyes more. When Dom said I’d done the right thing, I cried. There was so little I could do. It meant so much for him to affirm any of our actions. Then he looked at my leg & said, “Well I sure am glad I came. I’m going to have to amputate that leg if you don’t get the ice off of it & put it down. You’re going to have frostbite.” Elevating my leg with ice felt good & the swelling was down quite a bit. I hadn’t even thought about “15 min. on, 15 min. off.”

I shook uncontrollably as we all lay under the stars. The tremors continued. I didn’t know what was me & what was the earth shaking. Buildings continued to tumble down through the night. The screams & sobs continued. Pria slept. Dawn listened but anchored her thoughts on hope. I saw in the sky seven bright stars (The Seven Sisters?) & took it as a sign that the seven of us were still alive: Frank, Trevor, Mike, Angie, & the three of us. The stars were still. I would still myself as I focused on them. Then a shooting star crossed the sky! I was so fragile, but I laughed. “We have a beautiful night show going on above us! Look,” I said to Dawn. Dominique said, “You call them ‘falling stars’ in English, yes?” “Not tonight,” I said. (I’ve been very sensitive to the use of words in the last few weeks.) “Tonight they are “shooting stars” – shooting across the sky.” We were all quiet again, & I focused on the seven stars, praying each of us through the night in case the others were trapped or we all had more surprises to come. Then a cloud passed over one of stars, & I panicked. One of us wouldn’t make it, I thought. And, again, I changed my thoughts. God may have given me eyes to see the beauty of His creation & find comfort therein, but I was certain He would not play games with my emotions. And, so I prayed without ceasing through the night for my family, Haiti, & every one of you as God brought you to mind that long Tuesday night.


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