Divine Intervention

Well folks, it’s been a rough week. We said goodbye to our beloved Sunny girl last Thursday, Sweetie and I took care of each other and cuddled kittens until Sunday night, when we logged on to facebook around 10pm and saw the above photo.

This boat has been a fixture around town for years. As I read the first news articles, I learned that 27 people on this whale watching boat had been dumped into the ocean when it capsized. Out here, if you’re tossed into the ocean you have minutes, not hours. 27 people. Our hospital ER has 5 beds.

I’ve written vaguely before about our “code orange” preparations; vaguely because I didn’t want to accidentally cross some line about writing about my workplace on a personal blog – but it’s no secret we are the leaders in emergency preparedness in our organization and we’re determined to do our best in a disaster.

This is the first time in the four years since we started this training that we had a true “code orange” scenario, and it had a huge impact on the whole community. The exercises and training help a lot, but the emotions and energy present during and after an event like this is overwhelming and difficult to describe.

What’s most incredibly moving to me, is that the single distress flare the crew of the capsized vessel managed to fire off, was spotted completely coincidentally by Ken Brown, local fisherman and member of the First Nations Ahoushat community, who just happened to be in that area.

If Ken had not seen that flare, gone to help and called in the distress, every one of those people could have died. I call that divine intervention.

Every once in a while, it comes up during a session that a person is easily “tapped” to help when it’s needed. I call these folks “earth angels”. A lot of the time, earth angels are “Rafters” – they’re humans who incarnate with a life plan that looks more like a slogan or motto, rather than a detailed plan. Sometimes people plan “earth angel” years or decades into their life. I think we all have this potential, to hear the call when we’re needed. Our whole purpose in life, at that moment, is to be tapped.

This is very frustrating for some people who don’t like the sensation of rafting. They want more security and grounding. They want to know where they’re going. (I may be one of those people!) But there’s a lesson in learning how to raft for a while, and the impact of your actions usually isn’t as obvious as pulling people from the water. Sometimes it’s giving a person in need a ride, or a meal, or an ear – just doing what comes next. You can’t know how your actions impacted the lives of others until you’re on the other side yourself.

I think these heroes are very special people. They were tapped, maybe they answered a call on a spiritual level. “Don’t fish there, fish over here. Turn your head right now, look.”

Here’s one of the Ken’s interviews.

The men who pulled people from the water were not trained rescue workers, they’re just good, kind, people. By the time the coast guard arrived, they’d saved everyone who could be saved. Despite how incredibly well they did, the men mourn the people they didn’t, and couldn’t, save.

So I’d like to ask you folks to please send lots of love to Ken Brown, Clarence Smith and Peter Frank Jr.

I wasn’t on site on Sunday night, but on Monday morning everyone was starting to feel it. The shock was sinking in. My understanding is that tonight, the Ahoushat people will come together in a healing circle. I’m going to send my love, I hope you will too.

2 thoughts on “Divine Intervention

  1. I was thinking about you and Sweetie when I heard about this in the local news. I trusted that you weren’t directly involved, but I forgot that you work at the hospital there. Sending love to all involved – that must have been very scary. Do you get the sense that there were spiritual contracts involved? Not that that makes a difference when in the thick of trauma because it’s so real for us humans. It’s amazing that the hospital team were prepared and that the right people were there at the right time. I’m sure it was overwhelming.

    I think I’ve been tapped a few times. One specifically stands out to me. I was sitting in class one day when all of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach. I decided to leave school early and go home and rest. I went to my usual bus stop and an older woman in need approached me and asked me if I had any change to give her. Since my wallet is usually deep in my backpack it was a bit of a pain to get out but I did and gave her a few bucks. Then I felt myself ask her if she was hungry (I don’t normally do this but it felt right at the time). She said yes and I took her into a nearby fast food place to buy her a meal. She told me that she had cancer but had beat it once already. She looked put together and clean. I remember her nice green sweater and matching shoes. She was so lovely to me. And, I swear, as I was paying for her food, I heard the words come out of my mouth “do you have somewhere to sleep tonight?” Now, I know that I did not consciously ask this question – it just came out of my mouth as I was distracted with paying. In fact, she didn’t. She had somewhere to sleep the next night but that night’s accommodation would cost her $12 and she didn’t have it. I handed over pretty much what cash was left in my wallet – around $15 or $20. She started to cry and said no one had ever been that nice to her before. I almost started to cry – I wanted to take her home with me. But at that point my bus came and she told me I’d better get on it. I gave her a big hug and a wave, and I’ve never forgotten her. I believe that was divine intervention at play – I was just lucky to get the “bat signal” that day. I certainly don’t consider myself an “angel” but just someone who was able to lend a hand at the right time. 🙂

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