Thank God

June 16, 2010

In the past couple of weeks I’ve added some new things to my list of blessings from God for which I’m thankful. I’m undoubtedly oblivious to many more blessings that God has given to me, things I do not deserve and which protect and enrich my life. But these recent blessings have been impossible to miss.

Before dawn on the morning of Memorial Day, my daughter, her husband, and their 20-month-old daughter were awakened by a fireman pounding on their apartment door. He wasn’t there to ask for a donation to the fireman’s fund. But he will be getting one.

The fire broke out in the downstairs apartment immediately below my daughter’s next-door neighbor. Nobody was home in that apartment. A child in another apartment woke up and smelled smoke, and called 911. Another neighbor woke up about the same time, smelled smoke, and made the same call. By the time the fire department arrived, most of the residents were out. But my daughter’s family was still sleeping when the fireman came to their door.

They had to watch their next-door neighbors be carried out on stretchers and rushed to the hospital. The neighbors would spend a few days in intensive care due to smoke inhalation but they will be ok.

My daughter raves about the first-class service provided by the fire department. There was a fire department chaplain on site helping the families as the firemen worked to stop the blaze. They were brought food and drinks, and supplies for their daughter. They went back into the burning building to bring out a few smoke-saturated clothes and car keys. Compassion and courage were everywhere.

The Red Cross gave each of the displaced families a cash card to purchase clothes. By the time my daughter called us to tell us what had happened, they already had the keys to another apartment unit.

My wife and I had already planned a trip to visit my daughter that very week — the first time we’ve been there since summer 2009. (Imagine that!) I had already arranged time off from work, and we already had hotel reservations. We received some unexpected money the day before we left for the visit, which could be put to very good use. We were able to get some essential items to set them up in their new apartment while they wait for the details to be worked out on their renter’s insurance. (Yes, thankfully they have coverage.) My wife was able to watch their daughter while they attended to the many matters that had to be addressed to put their lives back together.

After the immediate needs were addressed, we actually had opportunity to spend some quality time visiting with our daughter and her young family. We got to play with our granddaughter, who is a delightful and happy little girl who is completely clueless about the near tragedy that she escaped.

Some blessings are impossible to miss.

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