By: Pastor Jen Herndon
Our country seems so very divided right now. This isn’t the first time and sadly probably won’t be the last, but it feels that there’s a lot of focus on differences and not so much on how we are like each other. I’ve actually chosen to ration the news that I read each day now because it was starting to feel oppressive and ugly to me. So I read in the morning, and I occasionally read at night but I don’t check it during the day. That includes Facebook. Instead, I do other things that feed my soul and help me remain hopeful.
In the midst of all this, however, I’ve been thinking about something I was a part of last year that renewed my hope and showed me that despite what the news headlines would lead us to believe, there are still plenty of pockets of unity out there. I was on my way home from an appointment. My dad was hanging out with my youngest at my house, and he needed to leave to get to his own appointment so I was on a bit of a time crunch. I wasn’t late, but I didn’t have abundant time to spare either. I came up on an intersection behind another car. We had the stop sign, and the cross traffic did not. The car in front of me stopped at the stop sign, and then pulled out into traffic. I wasn’t really studying the cross traffic, since I wasn’t yet to the stop sign, but when the car in front of me pulled out, my brain immediately registered an, “Oh my God! Why did he go?” just as the car he had pulled in front of ran into him.
The car he had pulled in front of ran off into the ditch after hitting him. His car came to rest in the middle of the road. I turned and stopped on the side of the road and got out and ran to check on both drivers, just as another car who had also witnessed the accident stopped and the driver came running. He attended to one of the injured drivers, while I called 911.
Here’s where the story gets really awesome.
The other driver who had seen the accident and I both stayed until rescue workers got there, and we’d both given our statements. But in the time we waited for emergency vehicles to arrive, driver after driver after driver stopped to ask if we needed anything. A nurse stopped her car and came to offer assistance. An off duty EMS worker stopped his car and came to offer assistance. Over and over and over again, people slowed down to check on us and see if there was anything they could do. It was flat out beautiful.
For that moment in time, people weren’t too busy or too worried about differences to stop to help each other. No one asked the injured man’s political views or racial policies or religious affiliation before offering to help. It didn’t matter. We were all in it together, with one goal – caring for someone in trouble. That, my friends, restored my faith in our broken togetherness.
We are very different from one another. I know for a fact that my friend list on Facebook represents an incredibly diverse lot of people, politically, religiously, racially – we come from different backgrounds – we have different beliefs – but at our hearts, we are not that different. We want to be loved, and we want to love. We have similar fears and similar hopes. And most importantly, we are God’s. Whether we know it or not, or believe it or not, we are each of us created by God and loved and cherished infinitely by God. That is what I glimpsed that day on the road – the recognition of a fellow person of sacred worth and value who needed us to love him in a tangible way. I pray we might see that in every face we encounter today. Our world needs us to do just that. Brave up and hero on, my friends!