The drive to work is a crazy one. You see, I didn’t plan the spacing of my children well…actually, I didn’t plan the spacing of my children at all. So here I am, blessed with one middle-schooler, one elementary-schooler, and one toddler. My morning commute consists of a stop at the sitters, then waiting in line at the middle school to drop my son, and then carting over to the elementary school and waiting in line to drop off my daughter. Then I have about 15 minutes to cut across town in morning traffic and get to work. It’s a bit of a rat race without a doubt.
This morning as my 15-minute commute from school to home commenced, I approached a four-way stop that is inevitably always backed up with traffic. From my spot about 10 cars back, I could see a car stalled in the intersection with it’s caution lights blinking. I could see a young girl, standing nervously by her car. Slowly, each car drove around the pair, the young girl and her stalled vehicle, and went on their way. In that moment, I stopped and prayed for her…that she had help on the way, that her car would begin to work, that if I could be of service, I would have eyes to see how.
As I inched my way forward, a van stopped by the girl and traffic came to a halt. The vehicle blocked my view, and I couldn’t see what was happening. Minutes ticked by, and I figured the help I had prayed for had arrived. Then I heard a horn honk from another waiting vehicle, the van pulled away, and traffic began to flow.
As I pulled up to the stalled vehicle still sitting in the center of the intersection, a lady near my age stood awkwardly next to the car. I could read on her face the discomfort of standing in the middle of the street, so I rolled down my window and asked if I could help. She shared that the car belonged to a young girl. The girl had been standing next to her car crying, and some kind passer-by had stopped to pick her up and take her to get help. The woman had agreed to stand next to the car until someone could arrive to help move it.
As I pulled away I thought about the community we live in. I thought about how blessed we are to know that when our children have trouble, not one, but many good samaritans will step in to help. The truly incredible thing is that I don’t believe this is unique to my small town. The willingness to help, the love for a stranger, the ability to ignore one’s own discomfort to bring comfort to someone else, anyone else, these are traits of our human race. We don’t give credit often enough for the kindness and goodness in each of us.
I couldn’t help but think about the person who honked their horn. I assume they could see the same scene that I saw and make the same assumptions that I had made. We saw someone having a very bad morning. I imagined that perhaps the “honker’s” job doesn’t have understanding or flexibility if they happen to run late, or they have an appointment that is vital and they must be on-time, or they have a child in the car about to be tardy because they can’t move in traffic. The truth is there could be about a million reasons that the person felt so rushed that they had to honk their horn.
I also thought that maybe, just maybe, the person was habitually late, that maybe they had been late so many times, that this time would be the time they would get in trouble, that their prior choices had placed them in a position where they couldn’t have eyes to see the needs of others. I’ve been that person too. Perhaps this day is God’s way of reminding them to take control of the days that go smoothly, get out of bed on time, approach the day with sanity, because there will be other days when circumstances are beyond our control…and on those days, we want to have eyes that see beyond ourselves.
I thought about all of the players in the story…
The young girl in need, relying on the kindness of strangers.
The passer-by, whose plans changed because they had eyes that could see another’s need.
The woman who stood next to a stranger’s car in the middle of traffic just to be kind.
The person in the car honking their horn because they couldn’t see beyond themselves
And me, the witness to these events.
I could have driven by this scene, not seen these people, certainly I didn’t have to share this story with you. But what I saw this morning was God’s work in our lives, and how can I keep that to myself?
And now, I ask you, who will you be when this story plays out in front of you?
Will you be the person who stops and prays?
Will you stop and help?
Will you stand uncomfortably in the crowd?
Will you witness and share?
Or will you rush by unseeing? Are you living your life in a way to prepare you to have the time and spirit to stop and see?
No one is perfect. Heaven knows I become impatient, that I’m notoriously late at all times, that being kind under pressure is a minute-by-minute struggle for me. We’re not designed to be perfect. I do believe we’re capable of seeing blessings in every moment, the good, the bad, and the stressful. My hope is that I can learn in every moment the lesson that is being laid out for me, that I can always recognize my part, and that I’m always blessed with eyes that see.