Today was a new experience for me. Although it was a brief moment, lasted just 5 minutes, I honestly believe I made a significant difference.
I was heading off to pick up my girls from Girl Scout day camp and was driving through the usual neighborhoods in my area. Just a normal and usual drive.
In the distance, I spotted this person standing by the side of the road. At first, I didn’t think much of it, as people often stand by their property, do gardening or just check their mailbox. It was only when I got a little closer that I could see it was a teenage girl, about the same as my oldest daughter, 14-15 years old.
While passing her at 25mph I could easily see she was distraught and crying. I sensed something was wrong and did something I have never done before. I stopped, put the truck in reverse and went back to her.
I had a bad feeling about her and had to check that she was alright.
Now, I know we teach our kids not to speak to strangers, especially a dude with a long ginger beard in a red pick-up truck. So, I can only imagine how scared she might have been seeing me reverse.
I rolled down the window and asked her if she was ok.
At first, she hesitated, and I do not blame her. But, she was still eager to talk or at least utter her sadness. I tried to calm her down and just calmly chat with her, assuring her that I was not there to abduct her or do her harm.
I was genuinely worried about her and wanted to make sure she was alright.
She then shared her sadness through a muffled cry. Nobody linked her and nobody needed her. Nobody wants to talk to her.
I said “I’m talking to you. I care. How can I help you?”.
That sentence made her change and she realized that I was there to help, and she smiled a bit. I believe that it helped her realize that there are people willing to listen, and she just needs to open up and talk.
While we didn’t have any deep conversation, the conversation we had helped. I shared that I have two daughters and that it can be difficult being a teenager. She needs to look at the bright side and talk to Jesus – he’ll listen.
It was the first time I actually shared that view with a stranger, i.e. talking to God, as a piece of advice. But her eyes lid up again, and she was calming down. He helped me through my own troubles and will help her too.
Part of me wanted to get out of the truck and give her a big hug, but that would (or could) have totally backfired and caused widespread panic in the neighborhood.
She thanked me, in her own way, and I said I would be passing by this spot in 30 minutes again, and would happily talk some more. She smiled again and walked with a more positive attitude towards what I believe was her house.
I did not see her when I returned. I really hope she is ok and will keep a lookout for her again. She was in distress and needed help, and I was delighted that I was there to help her, even just for a few minutes.
I had hoped she would be there so my daughter could’ve talked to her. She is very good at talking to people, and this would’ve helped even more.
I will pray for her tonight.
The moral of the story – there are people all around us that need help, and we should not ignore their silent cries, and we should reach out to help them. Even a little light in the darkness will be enough for a person to see hope again.
As I’ve said before, I’m a Heart Warrior, and my heart will extend to helping others too. You don’t have to be a heart survivor. We all need help.