I'm searching for the right word here, and I think I have it. This week was very "enlightening" for me.
Monday morning I was still wiping the cobwebs from my eyes when I got a call saying one of my employees was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. She had collapsed in her bedroom while dressing for work. She was unable to move the left side of her body and her speech was slurred. Of course she was having a stroke. As with all the women who work at my small office, Linda is more than just a coworker. She's a good friend to me. Often a trip to my office to ask a question or drop off a paper, will result in deep conversation, and sometimes a hug. Linda is a kind, caring woman, and the picture of health. No one saw this coming.
As I was trying to wrap my head around this tragedy, I received a text message from my neighbor, telling me there was a house on fire down the street from us. As I began to put the pieces together, I realized this was the home of a boy who sometimes spends time with my son. Terror came over me as I realized three children live in that home and they were probably all home alone since school was closed for the MLK holiday. Another neighbor then telephoned me to say she'd heard someone was taken out of the home and appeared to be deceased. All I could think of was that the children may have all still been sleeping and never smelled the smoke. Luckilly I was wrong. The fire was started when their father was cooking, and everyone made it out of the house safely. The house sustained significant damage however, and I expect the family will be displaced for months.
By Monday night, life seemed very fragile to me, and overwhelmed by so much tragedy in one day, I retreated and went to bed early. When I woke on Tuesday, I somehow felt "different". I felt so thankful to God that my family was safe and healthy. I felt thankful that no one was injured or killed in the fire. I felt great sadness for Linda, who's life will be forever changed. I felt for her daughter, who is holding everything together right now. I know all too well what it's like to watch your mother suffer a life changing illness.
This was somewhat of a spiritual awakening for me. The significance of that will be material for the next post or two.
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