Tuesday, September 06, 2005

PRAISE ALWAYS: A message from Chris

Originally uploaded by jenyc.
Good news! My husband and I managed to reach our friend, Chris, the cab driver we met in New Orleans. He and twenty-seven family members are safe and accounted for in a motel in Houston. When we spoke to him, he was on the highway returning from a medical visit. His feet were dangerously swollen from his diabetes and the doctors were concerned about his heart, but the booming voice that came through the line resounded with the strength and faith we remembered.

His home, his entire neighborhood is submerged under toxic waters; he has lost his means of making a living, and he is still desperately searching for a brother and sister whose whereabouts remain unknown.

"The state of the city, and the number of the dead is far worse than anything you see on TV," he said, his voice briefly cracking. "But I feel grateful to be alive, grateful that my children are safe. People have shown us so much love."

"What do you need?" my husband asked.

Briefly, Chris faltered, his needs so clearly overwhelming. "I try not to think about that," he said, attempting a laugh. "Because we need just about everything."

Then he told us how his son had broken down in a particularly vulnerable moment.

"Where will we go? What will we do now?" the son asked.

And Chris responded, "We'll be like Job. We'll praise God more than ever and he'll triple our bounty."

A quote from Mahalia Jackson which I found on Danyel Smith's wonderful blog this morning seems appropriate:

"It's easy to be independent when you got money. But to be independent when you haven't got a thing, that's the Lord's test."


rdl said...

Wow, that is truly amazing and wonderful. I am so happy to hear this story. what can we all(bloggers) do to help?

Rubydot said...

That is so inspiring. I have just starting reading your blog and I really enjoy it.

Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

It's so hard to find one human face in this debacle, that I'm deeply grateful for your stories. Do you think Chris would accept help from a stranger? Could I send something? Money? Supplies? Please let me know. I mean it. writelife@earthlink.net


Patry Francis said...

I am amazed and overwhelmed by the generosity of these offers to help.

From the two phone conversations we've had with Chris (one on the highway in heavy traffic) and the other when he called us back from the motel where he's staying, I would have to say that he is in a far better situation than many other evacuees. He has a cell phone and a car and enough money to put his family up in a motel--at least temporarily. I believe he was also able to evacuate the city before the hurricane hit.

Our calls were brief since we didn't want to use up valuable cell phone minutes that might be used trying to contact friends and family, and also very emotional so I'm unsure about a lot of the details.

However, despite some of the positives, the situation sounds pretty dire. He is a man in his fifties with serious health problems who has lost his home, his community and his livelihood. When asked what he needed, he listed the very basics of survival: food, feminine products for the girls, clothing.

Jordan, Sherry, and R., I will email you his address if you want to send something.

Once again, your kindness to one person in need is overwhelming.

Melly said...

Patry, you and your husband are special people. Chris and his family are special people. The bloggers who commented so far are special people.
I wish someone would pause for a moment, stop the blame and anger that's been going on, and take a look at the wonderful America and Americans who didn't falter for a moment with their genuine wishes to help and their genuine concern for their fellow country men, and their really big hearts. Because this is all that we see from here.

Patry Francis said...

Thanks, Melly, but I don't think I'm special at all. So many people are doing much more while I sit here ranting on my blog.

Vickie said...

Oh, but you are very special. And the line about ranting on the blog is my line. That's all I've done, but you have touched the lives of someone who was there and cared enough to seek them out when they needed it most. You are special, indeed. Your words are merely the conveyance of the message. By writing the stories that you do, this man may find unexpected help from unexpected quarters. It doesn't get any better than that.

gulnaz said...

i'm going thru a very trying time in my life, making me question my faith in god and reading chris's reply has touched my heart, shown me a way, sort of, told me how my strong my faith should be. thanks patry for posting this and am so glad your freind is ok. i hope things work out for him, his family, for so many of us desperate and ready to give up.

Perfect Virgo said...

Thank you for bringing us this inspirational story Patry.

Patry Francis said...

Vickie and P.V.: Thanks for your lovely words. Any day I see your "faces" and feel your friendship in my little blog town is a good day.

Gulnaz: I'm sorry you've been going through a difficult time, but I'm glad that Chris's words helped. They certainly inspired me.

ainelivia said...

I'm also wondering if Chris would accept "help from a stranger", let me know at cadelinse@btopenworld.com and send me some contact details