Friday, March 2, 2012

Knowing the Odds: An Open Letter to My Rescuers

I look at the picture of my grown self holding the gate with a rung, a space, a rung, a space. What are the odds that, when it fell and pinned me to the earth, my head would be trapped in a space, not crushed under wrought-iron rung? What are the odds? It's not the only thing I don't know.


This is the day every year I think of you girls. I don't know your names, but you were in high school and walking down the sidewalk, probably talking and laughing about boys or your latest hairstyle on a Saturday afternoon. I was ten and trapped.

How I gained your attention I do not know. Perhaps you heard Kelly or me scream, but I'm not sure either of us did. Maybe you heard the groan of the hinge as it let go, or the outside corner of the gate thud eerily to the concrete with the ping sound only metal makes. Maybe you didn't hear anything, but saw it happen with gaping eyes that flung your bodies into reaction before rational thought led you to a safer way of help.

I may never know, but I know this: I'm grateful.

Two nameless, faceless girls ran to my rescue thirty-three years ago today. Kelly went in search of an adult. I'm guessing she didn't recognize you for the unsuspecting heroes you were. One of you lifted and suspended hundreds of pounds from your teenage girl's bent bicepts. The other of you crawled under—crawled under!—reached me, and dragged me, and yourself, out from the impossible, crushing weight. And what are the odds of that?

The next day, my father and teenage brother tried to lift it like the high school Girl-Hercules did the day before, but their strength proved futile against wrought-iron. They couldn't even scoot it. Not even an inch. Not even with their love for their daughter and little sister, recovering in ICU, brain intact, but body mangled on the inside.

I remember none of it, not the falling gate, not the girls who delivered me to the medics, nor the ambulance that sped me to the operating room. Medical shock can have that affect on a person who suffers trauma if it's . . . well, traumatic enough. So I have facts that fall short of memory, as if I had read a biography. But I lived this miracle.

There are many things about that day I don't know, and I'm grateful for some of the not knowing. But you girls . . . I wonder, still, what made you rush courageously into danger for me, and I want to know. Since I've never saved anyone, I don't know that either.  I know not near enough of this, except how eternally grateful the receipient is.

So, girls? If you're out there? 

What are the odds that you're out there? And suddenly, I think the odds just might be in my favor. Why not?

And if they are, I'd like to know you,

and thank you.


With Jennifer today.

17 comments:

  1. Wow - that's amazing and it gave me chills. Wonderful that God had those girls there at just that right time.

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  2. That gate looks so harmless, doesn't it, Amy. I've even wondered if they were angels. I'd love to find them, even if I have to wait until I get to heaven. So glad you stopped by today. D

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  3. when I read something like this I automatically think they were angels in disguise. You are so very blessed. wow...I do believe we walk among angels just waiting to minister to us at the right moment in time. God is awesome.

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  4. The thought of angels did flit through my head, too. Although God also gives amazing strength to people sometimes in emergencies, and kind of turns them into temporary angels. (I know one who lifted a heavy vehicle off someone in an emergency but couldn't budge it a quarter-inch later.) Thanks for sharing this amazing story. Hope you get to meet your angels someday!

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  5. God using people as temporary angels...love that idea, Sylvia. He already uses us and includes us in accomplishing his will in our ordinary un-super human strength, so why not?

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  6. someone in my home group said God doesn't have hands, so He uses us to be His hands. Those girls were doing His work in that moment, weren't they? :)

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  7. Dawn, thanks for sharing this powerful testimony. It's a truth and opportunity He has given you to show and tell others about the Powerful and All-Knowing Father we embrace. Clearly, He has more for you to do in this world... and you are in your writing.

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  8. THAT'S the gate? Wow. and you know – I am certain that sometimes we meet angels unawares. Did you know these girls? Maybe they weren't girls. Maybe they were angels. If you knew them – I doubt they were angels – if you didn't, who knows? It's nice to be rescued. No? God bless and keep you Dawn - and stay away from gates!

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  9. What a moving story about rescue. Perhaps those girls were angels and if they are still here on earth, I pray that one of them is led here so you can experience the full circle of redemption. And the fact that you had the picture, oh my!

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  10. God-Bumps here. Wow, friend. So grateful for the way that Lord worked this miracle -- this thing that really is nothing short of a miracle. (And I'm hoping your rescuers stumble upon this blog. Wouldn't that be amazing? I do wonder if you can go back and find out from the original police report.)

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  11. Hi Dawn, it's me.... Kelly. Every year at this time, I think of you...for weeks. I just happened to google you and somehow came upon this sight, pressed one button and BAM I saw "The Gate". It has been ten minutes, and I am still covered in goosebumps with my heart pounding at the sight of it, and the memories of that moment. How we made it through that is indeed a miracle. We were so young... and I remember it like it was yesterday. In slow motion, swinging on the gate, the bottom hinge breaking, worried we'd get in trouble, trying to move it, seeing it fall, seeing you run, watching it fall... horrifying. trying to lift it, looking around for help.... screaming gut wrenching screams, frozen but moving, looking desperately for help. running in circles screaming, then by some crazy miracle, watching those girls lift that thing off of you and slide you out. I cannot believe I just found all this... still trembling. Wow. I hope you get this message and know that you are always in my heart. Would love to reconnect. xo Kelly

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    1. Oh, my Gosh, Kelly! Please private message me at dawn.gonzalez at gmail.com. Please come back and see this message! I have been looking for you online for several years. I want to reconnect...desparately.

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  12. You bet. I haven't been able to leave this page. flooded with memories, heart pounding, hands shaking... that gate was soooo heavy and looked so much bigger when we were 10yo. Will email you now. Im at kec268@comcast.net. Couldn't figure out how to sign the blog correctly. xoxoxxo

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  13. What a beautiful story and a beautiful example of God's divine appointments...first the teen-aged girls helping you from the fence...then Kelly finding your blog when you wrote about it. God is incredible! Thanks for sharing this, Dawn.

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  14. Wow! Don't know what else to say... Wow!

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  15. After all these years I do pray that these girls will step forward and you can thank them. WOW, this is an amazing story of our amazing God and how He works in our behalf.

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  16. I'm so excited that I read this story this long after the day it posted so I could read the comments and find the reconnection between Dawn and Kelly!! I love this!! Praying you get to meet your rescuers, but wouldn't have a hard time believing they were angels either!

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