27 July 2008

A Letter, Re-written

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a year since I wrote my first letter to a passerby.

Last week, in the midst of everything, I had the chance to re-write that message. And in the end, it wasn't I that delivered help or hope, it was a stranger.

I was traveling along the expressway on Wednesday morning when I passed by a man, his arms frantically waving a newspaper wrapped in a red tie, running alongside of his car, which was emitting smoke from the engine. 



 I looked back at him in my rear view mirror, let my mind wander, and my heart steer the wheel while I backed down the side of the expressway to meet him.

He came bounding to my car, his accent heavy as he leaned his head in the window. "I am to be in court, in XX, eight miles down the road, can you help?" I nodded my head as I moved my belongings to the backseat and gripped my cell phone in my shaking hand, my finger set to press a pre-programmed number with one small tap.

He explained that he was due in court for a custody hearing; he had gone back to his native Kenya for a visit and when he returned, his wife was gone. Today was the day he was supposed to finally see a judge to make a decision on his parenting time.

"Thank you so much for stopping. So much. I was there for minutes, then I tied this tie on my paper, trying to get someone to see me. 'Can't you see me people'? I was thinking, 'I'm drowning here.' "

And there, in that very moment, each hair on my body on edge, my lip bitten, my eyes watering, I looked at him and smiled, and thought, "Not on my watch."

We chatted a bit more and I walked with him into the court house in case he needed verification of why he was a few minutes late. His case hadn't even been called yet. I handed him my card and wished him the best.

"Thank you. Thank you again. I believe that the good we do comes back to us. I believe God will repay you."

"I believe that he already has," I said.

And I walked out into the day, smiling, floating, really, as I realized that I could finally touch bottom.

24 comments:

Loralee Choate said...

You are one of my heroes.

Kimberly said...

God, you are brave. You just gave me the chills!

flutter said...

gorgeous.

bgirl said...

inspire.
you.
inspire.

justabeachkat said...

And just like him, I believe God will repay you. Many times over.

I love your heart.

Hugs!
Kat

jen said...

it's you. it's all you.

Amy Y said...

These scenarios, like the ones from last year, still make me nervous ... thinking about the possibilities. Glad you are Ok, Mama, and I'm glad you were there to help him.

PrincessSteph said...

envious for your great start to the day. I had a similar experience a couple of years ago and it was life altering. Haven't been to visit you in a while as I've had a lot of stuff going on. Sad to see that I am not the only one. Sending you and the queens lots of love and good thoughts. You deserve it. Keep your chin up.

Hugs,
Princess Steph

mysecondjournal said...

I prefer to help people in a safer way.. IE helping the old woman at the grocery store reach the soup on the top shelf..even though it's hard for me to reach too.

Holding the door open for a mom w/ a diaper bag, stroller and 3 kids.

I prefer not to stop my car when I'm alone for a stranger, epecially a man. I don't think it's worth the risk. Although I'm in a very metropolitan city..if I were in a different part of the country I might.
If I was with someone in the car I would..and I have!

I hope that man was able to get peace from his court date.

Andrea said...

You? Are awesome. You make me want to be a better person.

Jennifer said...

Ahhh. This is gorgeous. On every level.

Seattle Mamacita said...

what an image..and a wonderful gesture. I do believe that it all comes back to you tenfold.

Susie said...

That brought a tear to my eye, truly. Thank you.

Bon said...

wow.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

thanks for the reminder.

painted maypole said...

you've arrived. you're standing. and helping a fellow human.

hooray!

Ally said...

You are brave, and good. I sometimes hate how cynical I can be..."late for court" in my mind translated into "I'm a criminal and I'm late for my bail hearing."

I'm glad that's not what went through your brain.

Julie Pippert said...

Just wow.

Mama Goose said...

Sadly we all should have 911 on speed dial. If only this world wasn't such a scary place.... Thank you for trusting and being so brave to have helped this man.

luckyzmom said...

I'm in tears. You are beautiful.

Janet said...

You harbour a kind soul.

hermitgirl said...

Yay! good for you! That was very kind AND very brave of you. I wish there wasn't a fear factor in helping strangers, but there is. But there's also that great feeling you get when you do it anyway. I'm glad you got your chance to let that 'what if?' question finally rest. :)

Christine said...

I wish I were as brave and good as you.

Kelly said...

That made my month. Thank you.

Jonas said...

Jenn, you've been VERY quiet for an awfully long time...

Just tell me you're OK? OK? (don't lie)