"If you can't help us, God -- then at least leave us alone!"
-- Randy Newman
|Espiritu rests innocently in the Panama City anchorage, not long before she was struck by lightning|
Well, it's been almost two weeks since Espiritu was struck and gravely wounded by lightning. We're working with our insurance company and are in the early stages of assessing the damage and determining what can be replaced, what can be repaired, etc.
There were 50+ boats in the anchorage -- including several ketches with two masts (theoretically doubling their chance of getting struck). But apparently our number was up (and that of our friends aboard Swift Current, who suffered collateral damage).
We're safe and relatively comfortable. We're in the Flamenco marina in near 100% humidity, with little or no breeze to speak of. And we have no idea how long we'll be here. Weeks? Months? Or longer?
And yes, it is hot. Two of our fans were blown out by the strike. As they say in New Zealand: "Eeeets a SCOACHAH!" I say this pretty much every day, several times a day. 'Drenched in sweat 30 seconds after bathing' is the new normal.
When we were in Costa Rica several weeks ago, a group of cruisers were discussing the bad luck of our friends Aaron and Nicole aboard BellaStar, who had recently suffered their own debilitating lightning strike.
"I think everything happens for a reason..." one of the skippers slurred dramatically after downing several beers.
I winced, thinking it was kinda bad karma to say such a thing about someone else's misfortune. I also privately wondered if he would be quite so philosophical if it was HIS boat that had been mortally struck.
I've always been in the camp that says: "Yes. Everything happens for a reason. And the reason we were struck by lightning is because our mast and backstay happened to be in the line of fire of the electrical discharge from the thunderstorm."
Who really knows?
My years as a nurse caring for children with cancer pounded home my belief that having grown up upper-middle class with a loving family, faithful friends, good health and a kick-ass education meant that I was pretty damn fortunate. From here on out. Come what may.
There is so much suffering going on in the world, all day, every day -- by gentle, humble people who shrug, go about their business and quietly play the hand they were dealt, with grace and without complaint. Anyone with eyes to see knows this (And then there are those who don't deal with it so gracefully, as portrayed on "Cops").
So I confess that I've at times been shocked (traumatic flashback to my own use of the word SHOCKED...too soon...too soon...LOL) when I hear another upper middle class, fairly privileged American express disbelief that someone like THEM would ever get, say, breast cancer, for instance.
"I was shocked that this would happen to me," they would say with absolute conviction. "I'm not supposed to get breast cancer. This is supposed to happen to OTHER people. Why ME?"
YIKES. Really? REALLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Many religious traditions teach the idea that all unhappiness is tied to expectations. The thinking goes that if we could only somehow live without any expectations, then we would naturally live in a state of perpetual happiness, because we would always be grateful for what we have.
So I still feel that since Chris and I were aboard the boat when she was struck and we are still alive, and we have insurance, and we're in a large city with access to every service we may need -- gratitude is the only possible emotion.
And I know it will be a hard road. We will deal with mild "tropical depressions" (double entendre intended). Chris and I will need to be gentle with one another.
But in the end, two words that I just can't bring myself to say are "Why me?"
We have no idea where we will be weeks/months from now, where we will sail next (north, south, east or west?) or even if we will continue sailing at all. We may be too pooped to pop after all of the repairs are finally completed (or too broke). We just don't know.
So here we are. We've met many new friends here in Panama City, and several of them, well meaning all, have responded with the ever-popular: "Well, everything happens for a reason."
Smile. There it is. There's just no escaping it. We already feel right at home here in our temporary new hometown. Maybe we will establish relationships here that we will carry to our dying day. Maybe our lives will be changed in ways that we could never imagine or foresee...
Maybe this thing DID happen for a...ah, well. :-)