One of the neighbors called my brother who was sitting at a Starbucks preparing to call our Dad to wish him a happy birthday. Dan owns a large four year old mutt of a dog named Chester (short for Chesterson), who was kenneled in the town home. He immediately hopped back in his car and began what should have been a 5-15 minute drive even with heavy traffic. We were driving home from canceled swimming lessons in a nasty rain/hail storm. My sister called to tell me Dan was trapped in traffic and that possibly Chester was being burned in the house. My kids prayed and we added a special intention to Saint Francis to look after Uncle Dan's dog. I confess, I was not optimistic. But we prayed and waited.
Meanwhile, my brother was stuck in maddening traffic owing to floods caused by the storm that started the fire. Traffic lights were out. Roads were closed. Water was high. The whole trip, my brother was anxious and worried and praying. His dog Chester was trapped. Was he already dead? Was he choking and dying alone? My brother said on the news, he had a panic attack about Chester. So what did he do? He prayed. He prayed and prayed and prayed. He told my mom that on route home in the midst of all that worry, knowing everything he owned in addition to his dog was being consumed by fire, he saw a woman with her car broken down in the middle of the road.
Her voice trembled as she told me what happened next. He got out. "I can't help Ches but I can help her." he said he was thinking. He helped push the car to the side of the road and then drove on. When he got to his home, there was Chester sitting being hugged by the fireman that saved him. My sister took Ches to the vet for a check up because he was wheezing and coughing up blood. Friends took my brother in, and there have been already, many offers of help, and I know the hard road to recovery starts today.
But the bottom line is, while everything was destroyed, my brother is safe, no one was hurt. Chester is doing better, and while my brother lost everything he owned, he is a very rich man indeed. I'm gushing because I can't but admit I'm very proud of him. I don't know if I in the midst of a profound agony, uncertainty and doubt, could see an other, a stranger and accept the grace to stop to help.
Take care Dan. Prayers. Love you from Maryland.
Proud to be your sister.