Rarely do we expect to be in the right place at the right time and save two people. Last Sunday, Sarah woke up sick and I spent my morning running kid interference, while putting finishing touches on my sermon. I preached a rushed, somewhat incomprehensible account of the Fall of Man. By the time we reached home, my greatest ambition was to be as lazy as possible for the rest of the day.
The kids didn’t want to oblige. They wanted to go swimming. I thought about pulling their wading pool out, but then, for some unknown reason, decided to go to the monastery. The monastery is a little river that drops in a series of rapids and three waterfalls next to a Catholic monastery. It is one of those places that I always promise myself to visit often, but then never quite manage it.
A ten minute drive and five minute hike brought us to the first of the falls, a relatively insignificant drop of five feet. The funnel of water creates a deep pool with strong current. The deep pool is rimmed with a beautiful stretch of shallow water where the kids can splash and play to their hearts’ content. Being Sunday, the place was crowded with Dominicans who lounged on rocks around the river. Several boys decided to entertain Grady, Stella, and Tommy by doing jackknives and backflips into the small pool.
Stella and Grady enjoyed dropping leaves and sticks into the rapids and watching them race downstream. Tommy splashed around and rubbed sand in his hair. As more families arrived, I made it a point to keep an eye on the kids. One of the new arrivals was a little girl who was around six. At one point, she got too close to the edge of the pool, got caught in the current, and was pulled in. Her eyes dilated as she panicked. By the time I arrived, she had been under the water for seven or eight seconds. I dragged her out and put her on the rocks, only to discover that no one else had even noticed. Her own family was too busy socializing to realize that their little girl had disappeared.
My second save of the day was less dramatic, but definitely more comical. One of the individuals sharing the pool was a lady wearing only a sports bra and jogging shorts. I was raised rather conservatively and have never thought this appropriate attire in public. It was certainly inappropriate on the sixty year old woman who had used her sixty years of life to accumulate considerable poundage.
She was skirting the deep water and was sucked into the pool at the same spot the little girl had been. She didn’t sink thanks to her built in flotation, but she was beginning to panic as the current drew her nearer and nearer to the plume of water entering the pool. I was helping Tommy climb a rock outcropping. I quickly leaned him against a rock and jumped in next to the lady. It was a significantly less elegant rescue. I had been able to hoist the little girl out of the water easily. As that was not possible with the lady, I had to tow her back to the shallows.
As I rested from my labors, I couldn’t help but think how close I had come to staying home and pulling out the kiddie pool. I can’t take credit for saving lives. There were enough people around that the little girl probably would have been spotted and rescued in time. As for granny, she wouldn’t have drowned due to strong natural buoyancy. However, by being in the right place at the right time, I was able to be of some use. Of course, the real credit goes to God who sets events in motion and puts His people exactly where they need to be. One of the joys of living in the DR is the number of times God puts us in the right place at exactly the right time.