“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was coming home from teaching one afternoon, and I was stuck in traffic. You know, the kind of traffic where the light turns green but there isn’t enough space for anyone to go through the intersection? The stuff that causes road rage. Well, that was me. It was August and it was hot. Finally! A green light! I think I’m going to get through!! I inch my way towards the intersection, but NO! Not me! I’m stopped. First car to go next I think to myself. So…I sit.
I don’t know what you do when you are waiting at an intersection, but when I sit and wait I people watch. Hummm….what are they doing in their car? I wonder who they are talking to? Yikes…those people look mad! While I was totally zoned out people watching, some movement caught my left eye. I turned and noticed that one of the electrical poles looked liked it was bending. Huh? How could this be?? Wait! The closer I looked, I noticed a very large truck had jumped the curb while making a turn, but what it didn’t know was that the top of the truck had snagged an electrical wire and was in the process of putting a massive amount of tension on it. It kept getting tighter and tighter. And, then, all of the sudden, that huge wooden electrical pole snapped right in half, and down it went. It landed right on a small compact car. It completely crushed it. All of the windows shattered and the doors folded like pieces of paper. As I sat and watched all of this unfold, I begin to hear this strange noise. It sounded like rope being pulled. It was so quick. I look up above me where the stoplights are hanging, and the wires are being dethreaded right before my eyes. Then, all the electrical boxes begin to explode. Oh my gosh! What if it falls on my car?? I react. I step on the gas and drive onto the median where the car was hit by the pole. I’m out of harms way, but what about the person in this car? I look around, and no one is going to inspect. Why isn’t anyone going to the car? I see some people taking their phones out and taking pictures or video, but no one is going to help. I call 911, and tell them what happened. Then I decide that I’m going to have to make my way over to the car.
I’m nervous. What if the person is dead? What if there is blood everywhere? What if there are children in there? Oh Jesus, pleases let them be alive, I pray. The closer I get to the car I hear screams. No words, just screams. At least they are alive I think. I have to get on my hands and knees to see inside because the car is pretty much flattened. I look and see a young girl. This poor girl is in such shock; she can’t make any other noise besides screams. Her legs are pinned under the steering wheel, and she is unable to move. I try to calm her down. Tell her I’m here. But, she can’t hear me over her screams. I look in the back for any child car seat, but don’t see one. I see her purse, and I try to reach it so I can find identification, but I can’t get it out. Why isn’t anyone else helping?? I don’t know what to do here? I’m just a teacher, not a doctor! So, I just reach in as far as I can and try to hold her hand. She noticed my hand, and her tear-streaked face looks my way. She looks right into my eyes. No more screams…she quiets down.
Just then, a woman comes up behind me and tells me she’s a nurse. I step aside. I hear the ambulance coming in the distance. More and more people come to the scene now, and I find myself making my way back to my car in the median.
I was totally shaken up. That was crazy! What just happened? What was my purpose in that whole thing? Why was I there? Why did God stop me at that light? I felt like I really didn’t do anything. I didn’t get her free from the car, or even get her name.
But the more I thought about it, I did do something. I may have not done much to help her, but I did connect with her, even for a brief second. Just me being there was enough to help quiet her screams. Me, someone who she has never seen before, and will probably never see again.
Think about what life would be like if we took tiny moments to connect with one another. We could be waiting in line at the grocery store, or going to the bank. Instead of looking at our phones, we could be looking into people’s eyes. We need to be in community with one another…even if we are strangers. What would happen if we embraced the little precious opportunities that God gives us to love on each other..to let one another know that we are not alone?
We are all instruments in each other’s lives. We all have a part to play, no matter how small.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…”