On Wednesday afternoon, Bethany seemed confused at my apparent indifference to my mother's predicament. To be honest, I really wasn't giving it much thought. She had texted to say she was okay, so there was nothing to worry about. I went to bed Wednesday night feeling rather peaceful about the whole thing. My mom is super tough and can bring order to any and all chaos, so I was imagining how well she must be doing.
I suppose my lack of concern was partly due to the knowledge that the Lord was with her and He had her back. That would be the super spiritual viewpoint. But the reality is that I just had no idea how bad things were in Haiti because the news wasn't getting out of the country yet.
I broke my rule on Thursday morning and opened my computer before breakfast. That was when my peace started to fade, slowly to be replaced by a vague sense of dread. While I was asleep, the pictures and stories from Port-au-Prince had hit the newswire. Suddenly I had a lot to be worried about. It had now been over 24 hours since I had heard from Mum, and as the sun was rising on Davao, it was setting in Haiti for the second time since the disaster struck. I now understood that she was almost certainly without shelter, food, or water. I had no idea if there were looters or violence of any kind.
Talking to Dad helped. What a strange world we live in. I was sitting in the Philippines, talking to my dad who is in Kenya, wondering what my mother was up to in Haiti. Thank God for Skype. Dad and I talked for a while but did our best not to speculate. I think we were probably both trying hard to be brave.
I understand that worrying doesn't get you anywhere, but with each hour that went past without hearing from her, I was increasingly concerned. I was restless and irritable and couldn't concentrate on work. When Bethany brought to my attention the ridiculous words of Pat Robertson, it was too much for my agitated soul. A fountain of obscenities poured from my mouth and I suddenly realized that I was having trouble coping.
I called the hotline in Ottawa to register Mum as officially "missing", which was kind of a weird experience. The Canadian government was great and gave me as much information as possible. It was a pleasure to call them six hours later to report that my mother had once again been heard from and was reportedly at the airport. She had texted Dad from her near-dead phone and he Skyped me immediately to pass on the news.
She then left the airport to report to the embassy, where they made arrangements for her to catch a flight to Montreal. I have just heard from my brother Joshua, who spoke to her only moments ago when her plane stopped in Miami to refuel and drop off some injured Americans. There will be Canadian officials waiting to assist her in Montreal so that she can get to Vancouver shortly after that.
Why am I writing this? It feels silly to talk about my feelings when I consider what my mother must have just endured. Sure, my feelings are valid, but the story isn't about me. Mum will have time to tell her story another time, but for now I feel like I need a bit of a release from the tension and talking about it helps.
I really love my Mum, and frankly I'm not accustomed to worrying about her. As I said, she is super tough and very well travelled. My parents both have some pretty crazy adventures (though this one tops them all, as it involves her "riding" her bed from the second floor down to the ground), but I know that they are doing exactly what the Lord has called them to do.
This may sound strange, but part of me was wrestling with jealousy yesterday. I'm sure you can relate. Haven't we all wondered at one time or another how we would respond in such a circumstance? Surely, you too have pictured yourself as the hero in a natural disaster. Yesterday I was envisioning my mother and wishing I could have been along side her.
Thanks to all of you for praying for her. We'll link to any blog she writes about the whole ordeal. She says she was interviewed by a lot of Canadian media, and may appear on the evening national news broadcast on two networks tonight. She was already quoted in one Canadian Press story:
Christina Stewart was in Haiti scouting a missionary project for Vancouver-based charity Impact Nations. She had been working on her computer when suddenly the house she was in disintegrated around her.
"The floor opened up, the walls opened up," Stewart recalled.
"The house was gone and I was alive."
The gathered 50 comprised the second wave of Canadians to be evacuated from the Caribbean nation's ruinous capital, memories of the carnage of Tuesday's magnitude-7 temblor still fresh in their minds.
At least five of them were injured, though believed to be in stable condition.
Stewart remembered spending that first night in a field that quickly became so crowded with people fleeing their homes there was nothing to do but stand.
When rumours of a tsunami - which later proved untrue - began to spread, everyone in the field starting running.
"We were just running through the streets, thinking the water was coming."
If you're curious to know what she was doing in Haiti in the first place, you can read the one report she had filed before everything changed. Sounds like she was having a pretty good time.
On a side note, we had a pretty good size earthquake of our own in Davao this morning. We get them quite regularly here, but they are usually more of a "gentle roll" than a violent shake. Perhaps we're just über sensitive this week, but it sure seemed like this morning's was the worst we've experienced. It was enough for Bethany and I to grab the Bird and head for an interior wall, something we've not done before. Like I said, a bit sensitive right now...