The night of January 5 snuck up on me unawares. There I was, chilling out in the living room in front of my computer, not really doing anything. I planned on writing a blog post on the Feast of the Epiphany, traditionally, January 6. All of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, blue sparks flashed across the ceiling accompanied by crackling sounds. Soon, light bulbs began to flicker and go out one by one. Now, when a strange burning smell followed the gradual power outage, it was time to call 911 just in case. It was actually my mother’s idea to make an emergency call; I was making light of the situation with my cousins, not thinking that we would actually have to evacuate the house. Although my initial reaction did not warrant it, putting on my coat and hat seemed necessary when mom recommended it. Then, the firemen arrived and told us to us to evacuate the house; at that moment I thought that the house would surely explode–or implode.
As we make our way out, we see the cause of alarm: a small fire on the power lines connected to our house. Firemen, neighbors, and firetrucks stood amist a fleeting gust of smoke. Apparently, a power transformer, an old rusted cylinder atop a power/telephone pole, had burst. I think that about 6 homes were affected. The emergency team told us to wait in our heated van until further notice. It was decided that we would have to spend the night in a shelter while Pepco sorted things out. We were able to bring stuff from the house–you know i had to bring my laptop, for safe keeping. So we waited in the van until the Red Cross worker came to direct us to the shelter; I’m thinking this is straight-up ridiculous–why can’t we stay at a hotel? Eventually, the Red Cross showed up and informed us that the homeowner insurance actually enabled us to stay in a hotel. It took about 3 hours in the van for this to happen: the evacuation was at 10:30pm and we arrived at the nearby Hilton hotel at 1:30am.
Throughout the ordeal I tried to remain positive. Actually, to my surprise I was very much at peace with the assurance that everything would be okay; this was a grace from God. The whole situation seemed to be a wake-up call for me to do better with my life and it served as reminder to trust God with everything, with the knowledge that he takes care of me. It wasn’t as bad as it might have been; the house was ok, and it didn’t happen in the middle of the night when we would be sleeping. And, we got to go to a hotel instead of a shelter. On top of that, thankfully, the beds in the hotel were just the right height for me to be transferred easily from my wheelchair. Nurses came and went, and we were able to enjoy a mini vacation, with meals included! I was even able to watch part all of a steaming movie on at Netflix on my laptop, thanks to the free wireless! There was also the opportunity to do without and reflect. The Good Lord provides. Later, on Thursday evening, we learned that we would be able to go back safely because PEPCO fixed the problem and an electrician checked everything out.
The highlight of the whole thing, for me, was to meet an injured soldier who was in Afghanistan. It happens that Walter Reed Army Medical Center is not very far from the Hilton. During a meal at the hotel, a guy in a wheelchair came up to us at our table to talk to me/us. He introduced himself and asked me if I was a soldier too. I said no, and explained that i had muscular dystrophy. As we spoke I learned that Dana had stepped on a IED (improvised explosive device) and had the flesh from his lower legs blown away. The good news is that he was in the Medical Center to recover. Dana (from Tennessee) was in the hotel with his wife and children as they were visiting him. He told me that he was inspired by me because of how I seemed to handle my disability… and I told him that he inspired me because he suddenly lost the ability to walk whereas I had experienced a gradual progression and was used to it. Before I knew it Dana was praying for, and with, me. In the course of his prayer, he thanked God for the “mighty soul” He has given me. How amazing that is to give me such a wonderful sign of His great love for me.
Through everything–GOD IS.