the man on the road, or how I celebrated Valentine’s day

i’ve struggled with how exactly to tell this story, because it’s a lot of stories.

it is, from a high level, the story of how a car full of counselors pulled over after seeing a man lying in the road, the exit ramp of the highway.

it is the story of how i knew even if prayers were all i had to offer, they were a great thing to offer,

but how God wanted to give me something more in that moment. A chance to be used, to be useful.

 

When we got out of the car, the disoriented and injured man was trying to get up. His condition made it easily clear that it was not in his best interest to move. at all. So the three guys who were already at the scene kept yelling at him to stay down.

The part of me that earned me the Mpavum Chifundo title back in 2006 in Zambia came roaring to the surface. He was hurt. He was confused. He was sprawled out on dirty asphalt and being yelled at. So I did what I could do. I offered what I could offer.

I took off my sweater and laid it under his head. I stroked his hair back out of his eyes, I spoke softly and looked at him. After asking his named I called him by it. I responded to every question he had, even though it was really only three questions, over and over. I held a bleeding, confused stranger and somehow banked my emotions – concern for him, confusion over what happened, and a deep sense that I was not qualified for this. That I did not deserve the chance to comfort. Who was I to step in?

Once he was stable and in the ambulance, we left. There was nothing else any of us could do at the scene.

The driver of my carpool group asked if I was okay. Apparently I didn’t hide my emotions that well. He told me a story of how he was once hit by a car while riding his bike. How the most vibrant memory he has is of waking up to the feel of someone shaking his arm, a woman’s voice asking if he was okay, the human contact that let him know he was alive. 

I’ve just been thinking about it alot. About human contact. About touch and connection. About how infrequently someone will look in your eyes and answer your questions. And how sometimes, when they do, it reminds you that you’re alive.

 

About basic attending skills.

About how basic love isn’t.

About how easy it is to ignore people until they are lying, broken, confused, in the dark.

 

About how I don’t want to ignore people.

About how passionate I am about healing. How much i’ve received and how I am eager and excited to be a healer.

About heaven, and how i long for the coming of the Healer whose manifest presence will be the light.

 

About how grateful I am that I got this shock-paddle-style reminder of how much it matters to treat people like they matter.

 

And how grateful I am that on the night of Valentine’s, after class, I was (am) single and had no frippery to deal with, and could instead go to the gym and run off some of the crazy because seriously, even for me, that was intense.

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