12 January 2015

"DC Metro Tunnel Fire... Lord Hear Our Prayer"

While working from home today the early evening was interrupted by a plethora of emergency vehicles barrelling in both directions in view from the patio. Given the season for house fires, I prayed for the safety of the fire personnel and that loss would only be material. And I kept working... the din of emergency vehicles fading in the distance, muffled by freezing rain, closed windows, and focusing on work deadlines. A fire with billowing smoke had engulfed L'Enfant Plaza subway impacting the Yellow and Green lines.  I live on the Green line.
DC Metro Subway  | Fire at L'Enfant Plaza 
Since about 7p I have been sitting in darkness-- a chaos of sorts, feeling immense grief for the family of the woman who died in the subway fire; praying the others in ICU pull through; and that the many ones hospitalized due to smoke inhalation and evacuation injuries are not strapped with financial hardships from such a terror. Lord, hear my prayer for names I don't know, faces which may be familiar...
Yes, faces which may be familiar as the flashpoint of L'Enfant Plaza is two blocks from my place. On the line I take from my office to home; four to five days a week. Except today, I was working from home; due to unrelated and unforeseen circumstances. I was horrified to learn that a young colleague was in the tunnel; and delighted to read of her eyewitness report. And, but for inconveniences which required me to work from home today, it is more likely than not and highly probable that I would have been in that tunnel, getting off that train, in L'Enfant Plaza, at the moment of this catastrophe.
Two blocks beyond my doorstep. Two buildings and an overpass beneath my window. Aware of "yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" scriptures, I have let phone calls go to voice mail, abruptly ended others as trivial in this current context, and prayed for the faces captured emerging from the tunnels with mouths covered and terror in their eyes.
For life, this is a good day. For death, this has been a tough day. Lord, hear my prayer of sorrow and thanksgiving. Flowing from the same fountain. Less for myself, but also that my family did not have to get THAT call today. Mostly for the family of the woman who did get that call; for my friend who spent several hours shuttling her family members stranded along the rail line to safety and home; for my colleague who lives to tell about it; and for the pain survivors are in tonight. 
Lord, hear; please; even as I fall asleep weeping where words fail.

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