Eternity lives in moments.
In the most desolate and desperate situations, hope can shine and miracles do happen. Know this and be well.
I remember the details with perfect clarity of that evening of Dec 23, 1997. Amanda and I were returning home on a snowmobile from a overnight cabin trip with friends in the middle of Labrador, our home. It was a lengthy trip over the frozen lakes and we had left in the mid afternoon with another couple of friends but got separated along the way because we had to make a stop to switch gas tanks. Not long after we started on our way again, I was sitting comfortably and listening to music on my Walkman when Amanda yelled “look out! We’re going in!” Through the ice we went, Amanda went to the left of the ski doo, I went to the right and immediately submerged into the frigid December waters of a Labrador lake.
Time did not stand still. It simply did not exist. The whole world, my world, was eternal. There was no beginning, no end – just that moment.
I can still feel that sensation of weightlessness from falling into the water, like a dream where I’m flying. Then I felt a pull, dragging me down, like icy tentacles grasping at my legs as my clothes started to weigh me down. I was enveloped in absolute terror trying to keep my head above water, then utter hopelessness with ice breaking under my arms over and over and over again as I tried to get out of the water. Light turned to dark, day to night, and then miraculously I was out. I have never been able to recall that instant other than exactly as I described – fighting to get out of the water and then *poof* I was sitting on the ice. I remember feeling like I woke from that dream to find myself sitting there. Not knowing how I got there but knowing I was given a new chance. I can feel the ice underneath me as I crawled to Amanda and we remembered enough from survival lessons in health class kept our distance so as not to break the ice again. We argued. I told her we would not give in, that was not an option. Together we made our choice to not give up, then we screamed for help. We screamed. I can still feel the ripping in my throat. Jagged, tearing screams into a clear and quiet night, reaching nothing. You could see for miles and there was nothing. No one. Time did not exist. I could see the lights from the iron ore mine, I was trying to determine how far they would be if we had to crawl that way to get off the ice. I could feel nothing of the cold, even for being soaked to the core with layers upon layers of soaking wet clothes. I knew the threat of hypothermia would become imminent as well if our situation didn’t change soon. Then another miracle, first a distant sound of a rumbling engine, then a bright light staggering in the distance. How, I will never know. It defies explanation how our screams were heard over the roaring engine of s snowmobile. How we were seen in the middle of the lake when we never should have been there. But we were.
There, the 3 of us, rode to the highway on a snowmobile meant for one. I was on the back, barely holding on, screaming again inside as I felt the ice breaking under my feet as we drove off. We arrived at the highway to flag down anyone that would stop and take us to the hospital. And so there, once again, a miracle, after a few hours of observation, tightly wrapped in warm flannel blankets, once the shaking subsided, neither one of us had hypothermia, no one else from our party had been in trouble (which was my fear) and we were released to go home. I tried not sleep that night. I felt I had just squeaked past death’s hand too many times that evening that I was not going to be given any more chances. Eventually though, sleep took me.
I may not have gone on to change the world, but my world was changed from that moment. And from there I’ve helped create 2 new precious worlds and with that I know, without a doubt, miracles happen. Miracles are real.