Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Washed Downstream - A Time for Personal Strength

I recently posted about the sudden downpour and freakish flooding of the Guadalupe River. The Sunday morning June 13th edition of the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung told an amazing story of personal strength. Autumn Phillips' article is summarized here.

Five miles from my house, in the middle of the night, R. J. Forester, his wife and teenage daughter were camping on the banks of the river when their camper was rocked by a loud collision. It was a picnic table that had washed down the river and had slammed into their camper. Water was filling the truck and camper fast. They grabbed inner tubes and life vests.  When their truck went under they were quickly separated and washed away along with cars, trucks, campers, pieces of buildings and other debris. 

Imagine how dark it was in the middle of the night. Imagine being swept downstream, totally out of control, turned around by the current, bumping into trees, rocks and other debris. The daughter, Sydney, was in the water two hours before she was rescued. Her mother made it to shore but nearly drowned when the store she broke into flooded. R. J. was swept 30 miles downstream before he was picked up by rescuers. 

How about that for adversity? You drive 200 miles for a family outing and the river rises in the night and washes you away. Composure - don't panic. Courage - fight your fear so you can do what you have to do. Effort  - struggle with all the strength you have. Perseverance  - don't give up, even though it seems hopeless and after more than an hour the situation is getting worse.

R. J. is a firefighter. He must have given some of his toughness to the rest of his family. They stayed strong, fought the river and were eventually rescued and taken to local hospitals, where they were reunited. Today, they're back in Fort Worth, alive and well and with stories to tell.

Will your dreams be interrupted by a raging river? No, of course not. I don't know what's going to happen to you. But something will. That's the way life is. All I know is, when it happens, it won't be what you expected. 

 Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (2010 photo by Kathleen Scott, used with permission.)

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