Because we live in a rural area, a two and half hour trip “to town” is a typical need for us. Fifty miles from home, we ran over the hook end of a bungee cord, which spearheaded itself into our tire. On the side of the major artery (2 lanes with lots of semi trucks going past at 55 mph), we assessed that a tire had to be changed. No problem. Our AAA is paid up. We pulled out our handy cell phone and dialed. Nothing. Dead zone.
My husband proceeded to begin the process of changing the tire, while I ranged a quarter of a mile back up the road, looking for cell phone service. Walking beside the heavily traveled road, spotting a variety of automobile and truck nuts, bolts, etc. laying either in the road or beside the road only heightened my concern for my safety. Trucks passing within a few feet, threatening to wind sweep me off my feet was not fun. No cell phone service.
Back to husband to report the poor news. He was still struggling with the spare tire. Off in the opposite direction. Still no cell phone reception. Did I say it was spitting rain? Finally, in desperation (a medical appointment was about to be lost due to our inability to be there on time), I knocked on the front door of a home sitting very close to the road. After several moments of non-response, I turned away. Before I got to the road, a woman called to me.
The result was that she very kindly offered me her land line to call for assistance. She told me that she has a constant stream of people come to her door to ask for help. That she has lived beside this road for 20 years and that she continues to be fearful of who is coming to her door. (She has been robbed quite frequently, due to the ease with which people can enter and exit her driveway and yard.) Even with her concerns, she offered me the warmth of her home and spirit.
It all turned out well. An unknown tow truck driver stopped and made sure that my husband’s new spare tire was in good working order. The AAA driver appeared as soon as we had finished changing the tire–but he came in less than half the time that had been predicted and was graceful when he realized his services were not needed.
The woman from the home came out to make sure that we had been taken care of. With many words of thanks to all, we resumed our trip. We tried to call our doctor’s office for the next forty-five minutes, but found that the dead zone accompanied us. Finally, we reached “civilization” and was able to connect with the doctor’s office. And yes, they understood, and yes, we could be late and they would still attend to our needs.
All strangers. All kind. All helpful. Overcoming individual personal time needs, personal stress and commitment to others–to help us.
As we look at this small incident in an otherwise very filled life, we realize that we have shared in these every day kindness–from others to us and us to others–all of our lives. That no matter where we have been in the world, kind people have offered us their time, skills, generous hearts and willing hands.
“We are God’s hands” is an appropriate sentiment for the sharing of humanity along the side of a busy road, or wherever help is needed.
Be gentle with yourself and those strangers in need of “God’s hands.”