Sunday afternoon I was checking my emails and awaiting inspiration for my devotion when I ran across a story my sister had sent me from her home in Traverse City, Michigan. It was about a 64-year old software developer that nearly drowned on Memorial Day in Lake Michigan. This fellow had launched his 10-foot fiberglass dingy on protected waters close to the shore, but then ventured out into Grand Traverse Bay, where high winds blew up the waves. Though he bailed frantically, the high water soon flooded his boat and within minutes sank it.

Eighty yards offshore, wearing a life preserver, jeans, tennis shoes, and a light jacket, he fought the waves and went underwater several times. The 48 degree water soon had him in shock and near hypothermia. But thoughts of people he was close to gave him reason to fight, to not give up. He knew it was futile to swim to shore, so he drifted back towards the Manitou, a historic schooner tied up to an old coal dock. He hoped that someone might hear him yelling for help.

The article said “And then his luck turned.”

Matt Harrison, 24, had arrived only a week ago from Minnesota to work as a Manitou deckhand. Around 3:30pm he was below deck and heard “a different sound” above the gusts of wind. He soon spied the man waving his arms about 80 yards away, and sprinted across a parking lot to the Madeline, another docked schooner, and yelled to the crew members for help.

Now as it turns out, just 3 hours earlier the Madeline crew had rehearsed how to “save a man overboard” andtreat hypothermia. Two crew members took the Madeline’s 12-foot dingy and motored to the drowning man, while the remaining crew dialed 9-1-1 and got equipment ready to hoist him up and treat him for hypothermia.

The drowning man later said that by the time the dingy reached him, ”part of my brain and my legs were the only things that were working. At that point I no longer felt any fear-one of the guys said ‘hold on, I gottcha’, he grabbed me by the arm with a grip of steel and I knew then that they could save me, but I wasn’t able to help them a bit”.

By the time the Fire Department arrived at 3:45pm, the man was in a state of advanced hypothermia and barely conscious. He said later “the whole thing was just a string of coincidences; that Matt heard me over the weather and through the walls, that they were just having a class and were ready is dumb luck. When I look at everything that was in place it’s amazing. If it weren’t for these people, I wouldn’t be here.”

Okay. I am happy that this guy’s near-death experience didn’t turn out bad for him. But when he attributes his survival to coincidences, dumb luck, and the quick responses and brave actions of a few good people, it makes me pretty sad for him. Maybe it is just the way things are reported in our secular world. It just seems to me that an awful lot of everyday people nowadays can be pretty blasé when confronted with what I think a lot of other people see as miracles.

Terry Hershey’s “Sabbath Moments” every Monday has turned me on to plenty of poetry and music. One of my favorite songs is “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer-one line goes like this: “ So…the challenging thing becomes not to look for miracles, but finding where there isn’t one…”

I wish I had the smarts to furnish you a link to that song, but I don’t. Do yourself a favor and search youTube for Holy Now and see if you like it too. Oh, also know this: there are two Peter Mayers out there writing and singing great songs. [Editor note: click here for Holy Now on YouTube] GGCC is a blessing to me. I see miracles all the time.

Steve Koerwitz

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.