Book Excerpt

The Good thing about Mortar Shells:
Choosing Love Over Fear.

The literal wall of fire

We were driving full speed towards a massive wall of fire. It was so big that the flames were reaching up higher than our 4×4, and it was impossible to see past it. Dawn was just breaking, and I could only make out shadows quickly moving out of our way ahead of us. I heard a gunshot, perhaps to warn us to stop or to warn others as we hurtled full speed ahead. My security Manger yelled, “Faster! Faster, drive faster!” We were all bracing for impact, the driver, my security manager and I. All that filled my vision was the wall of flames that would soon envelop us.

This is what trust is like

It was 4 am, and my security manager had come to rescue me.

I had been back in Haiti, helping in the Hurricane Matthew response that had devastated parts of the country. On my way back from visiting some of the programs outside of the base, a big riot broke out, and all the streets were blocked with massive fires, semi-trucks and freshly dug ditches. I, along with some others, had found refuge in a hotel close enough to the rioting that we could hear the yells and gunshots just 200 metres away from us.

I was huddled in a room with 20 other people breathing through wet towels. We were trying to soothe our burning eyes and lungs after we had been tear-gassed for the third time. I was suffering the most because I had run around the hotel as they were shooting tear gas at us, trying to herd everyone into safety. But in the scramble, I had managed to find my phone. When I could finally speak, I called my security manager to update him on the situation. He told me to stay put; he was meeting with the rebel leaders to see if he could get me out. He later called telling me to stay there for the night, and he would come to get me early the next morning.

I woke up at 4 am to a call from him, “Get up now, go fast we’re in the front.” I scrambled in the dark and ran to the road. My security guard was there with a car. I scuttled inside, and we started driving before I had shut the door and were racing to the main road. The rebels were already beginning to make a fire out of burning tires. We had to drive through it fast enough so that our car wouldn’t catch fire. We plunged right through the wall of fire, perilously missing a parked semi that the flames had concealed entirely.

If we had been one foot more to the right, all of us would have been dead. I ducked down in the seat, trying to avoid any bullets if they decided to shoot. But they didn’t. And then it was calm, everything was quiet, I kept looking back to see if people were following us, but no one was.

When I arrived at the office, they gave me the day off, but I worked anyway.


I know that perhaps my life is more dramatic than most, but trusting the universe can feel as scary as driving through a wall of fire. We don’t know what’s on the other side. Careening full speed ahead seems like a crazy idea, and a death of sorts seems inevitable. But then you do it, and it’s actually not so bad. Sure, you may have narrowly missed disaster, but you did miss it, and now nothing could convince you to go back to the place you left. There’s a whole world of happiness out there. It’s better and more beautiful than we could ever create or imagine for ourselves, but sometimes we need to drive through a wall of fire to reach it…

If you liked this, please purchase “The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”

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