They were struggling so. Two men about 50 and 20 years old respectively were trying to push a broken down van while a girl about the age of 12 tried to steer on the snow and ice covered road. I came upon them on my way to work. I looked to see if anyone was stopping to help, someone with a truck that could push the vehicle to safety, or a couple of other men to help manually push. No such luck.
The girl saw me looking her way and began waving in an effort to stop me for help. There’s no way I could, in good conscience, keep driving in a warm car to a warm office. At the time, it was negative 7 with a wind chill of negative 20 degrees! Seeing the slow progress they were making, they could very well freeze to death!
How can I help, I asked, as I walked over to the van. As the older of the two looked at me, probably wishing someone other than a 50ish, small framed woman was asking, he just said, “we’re trying to push it to the parking lot ahead”. Okay then, let’s push!
I felt rather good about my efforts. We were actually making much better headway than they were without me. That is, until they tried to turn up the entrance to the parking lot. No matter how hard we pushed, the ice just kept us slipping back. A little forward, then back again, then forward and back. Ugh!
I kept seeing cars and trucks drive by, some drivers looking our way, but none willing or able to stop and help.
But then, a young woman, about 25 or so, stopped. As she exited her vehicle, eager to help, I noticed she had no gloves to cover her hands. I warned her it was too cold without gloves. She said she didn’t have any, but walked over to help anyway. Did I mention negative 7 degrees? Way to cold for uncovered fingers!
She tucked her hands inside the sleeves of her coat and began to push. One, two, three, push we said, over and over. Even with her help, we still couldn’t get the van over the hump of the ice covered entrance.
I kept thinking, just a little more oomph and we have it! Just then, a couple of young men in a battered old truck came upon our pitiful scene and stopped to help. That’s all it took! With their help, success! Up and over the hump and swiftly to the parking area destination. A collective sigh of relief washed over each of us.
The original threesome said their thank you’s as the rest of us scattered to our waiting vehicles to be on our way. No time for more than that. Too cold to stand in victory. Time to get on with the day.
I haven’t stopped thinking about those very cold moments. It wasn’t even my vehicle, but I am so thankful for that young woman and two men who stopped to help. Without them, I’m not sure how this story would have ended.
I don’t understand what makes some stop and others look and keep going. Why is all of humanity not willing to help another in need?
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”. Galatians 6:2
I realize some are unable, while others are fearful. There have been times when I’ve considered giving assistance to someone, only to realize I may be putting myself in jeopardy. Wisdom is essential when ascertaining a troublesome situation.
However….. when one can, one should. Just my personal opinion.
Years ago, as a volunteer in my local church, I asked why there were so few of us volunteering. I was given a very simple yet piercing explanation. “In most of life, including the church, 20 percent of the people, do 80 percent of the work”. Wow!
Christian or non, this statement seems to be true. It saddens me all the more though, that this is true within the Christian circle.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you”. John 15:12
I’d like to take this moment to celebrate the 20 percent. Even though you do not help for any sort of pat on the back, you still deserve one. So, here’s a virtual pat on the back from me to you. Yay you!!
Now, a challenge to the 80 percent.
No condemnation here, just a simple reminder of why we are on this earth. It’s easy to fall victim to selfishness. After all, we live in a fallen world where what we see and hear is usually all about how to please ourselves.
The title of this post, A Little More Oomph, is all about the small amount of extra effort it usually takes to make something good happen. And it’s not just about helping someone stranded on the road. Its about being intentionally observant to the needs of others.
Does the elderly lady need help with her groceries? Is the mom behind you with fidgety kids in need of taking your spot in the check out line? If you’re a church goer, do the babies need to be rocked in the nursery? And yes, if someone is stranded, even if you are fearful of stopping, a simple phone call to the local police station will have help on the way.
There’s so many more examples I could give, but you get the point.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it”.
Not accustomed to this sort of outreach to total strangers? Try it, I dare you. Look around. See a need. Fill the need. Be the little more oomph in someones life. You’ll be glad you did. I promise.
In His embrace,
Heavenly Father, thank you for the kindness of strangers. Please help us all to reach out in kindness to others, knowing it just may be one of us some day in need. In the matchless name of our Lord, Savior and Friend, amen.