Someone on Facebook posted a photo of a small article clipped from the paper and tagged my brother Michael, so I read the article. It was about both my brother and me when we were taken out of our burning house in 1959. We were taking our naps and became trapped on the second floor when the first floor was engulfed in flames. Our mother had been in the basement doing laundry and came back upstairs to discover the fire, and ran to get help. The article named the firefighters who rescued Michael –I had been taken out of my room by the off-duty police officer who lived behind our house — and a friend of his was trying to connect with someone who might know the firefighters and if they were still alive.
It was a day of watching to see if connections could be made. Friends commented on the story, I told more of it as the day went on. A connection was made directly to someone in the Prince Georges County (Maryland) Fire Department, phone calls were made, conversations held, and it appears now that my brother will shake the hand of the man who saved his life all those years ago.
It lifted up a few blessings for me:
- Though we complain about the difficulties of social media, it has this effect, too. It makes connections possible that have healing and hopeful resonances out into the world.
- It reminds me that though I seem to make my way through the world on my own, there is a vast network of people who make my life safe and secure. I forget too often to be grateful to those who risk their lives to save others.
- I rejoice in the opportunity to offer thanks all these many years later to one who made my life so much better. Our family had already lost a child to sudden infant death that year and was struggling. My brother and I were taken from the burning building, but our mother and father and extended family were granted new life because we all lived. I cannot imagine the kind of damage that heavy grief might have done to us all.
Uncovering our connections can keep hope alive. I seek to live in the light of that truth more consciously as we approach the new year.