Neighbors on the Highway
Who among you has never had your car break down on the road?
Once there was a young woman returning home from college. She was on break for the spring and was looking forward to an easy 3 hour drive, but on the way was caught in a traffic jam. In order to save on gas, since traffic was completely stopped, she turned off her car. When traffic started moving again, her car would not start. She had left her headlights on while the car was off. She was broken down in the left lane on i90, an hour from home and in a cell phone dead zone. Cars sped past her, family vans, single men and women, tractor-trailers, campers and RVs, even a police cruiser, all zoomed past the worried young woman, many drivers honking their horns at her to tell her to get off the road. She was frightened, scared her car would be hit by someone, that she would be tossed in the ditch, or worse that someone would stop, but the encounter would be personally dangerous for her.
A slightly rusty Ford pick-up truck with two men pulled up behind her car, hazards on. The young woman was now terrified - two strange, somewhat burly men, and she was in a vulnerable situation. One man immediately stood in such a way to direct traffic around the broken-down car. The other cautiously approached and asked what was wrong, what happened, and if there was anything they could do to help. Between the three people, the young woman and the couple, they jumpstarted the car. It came to life with a polite cough, running smoothly as if nothing had happened. To ensure against further breakdowns, the truck followed the car until it reached the woman's exit ramp. The men passed the woman with a quick horn toot and a wave.
The woman never learned the name of her saviors that day, but they were certainly a neighbor, offering help, and she stepped away from her fear and accepted their assistance. When we are told in the Parable of the Good Samaritan to "go and do likewise" after hearing the story, too often we identify with the person offering assistance; what if we allowed ourselves the vulnerability of accepting help when it is offered?
~Rev. Andrea Joy Holroyd