Imagine the following scenario. A woman notices a man trying to stand on the rail of a bridge—not over the water, but near where it meets the sidewalk on an adjacent street. She’s in a hurry between work meetings, but senses something isn’t quite right so she calls 9-1-1 and lets them know the location and description of the man.
She continues driving on to her next meeting for another mile or two but decides to go with her gut and turn back around. As she re-approaches the bridge, she sees the man now sitting on rail in the middle of the bridge over the water. She calls 9-1-1 again and stops her car on the adjacent street. Cars honk at her since the light is now green, so she pulls on to the bridge and stops her car next to him. Not sure what to do, she rolls down her window so he can hear her there. She insists the dispatcher sends help immediately as she watches the man lean forward to jump and hesitate over and over again.
By this time, 50 cars have passed the man and the woman without anyone else stopping to help. That is until a second woman drives past and turns around, parking behind the first woman. As the first police officer pulls up, the second woman jumps out of her car and runs to the man’s side putting an arm around him and offering a comforting voice. She and the policeman get him down from the ledge to safety.
This isn’t a random scenario; this was my day today. I was the first woman. While I did “the right thing” and called 9-1-1, I’m saddened because this experience highlighted my selfishness and fear. I’m grateful however for the opportunity to reflect on how I can love better.
I was too busy to stop the first time as I hurried on with the schedule of my day. I let fear stop me from getting out of my car. If I had gotten out, would I have been too afraid to put my arm around him like the second woman did?
When I talk about loving others and showing generosity, my motivation is to be a testament to the love that Christ has shown me. He wasn’t afraid of meeting those deemed less than by society. He touched them and prayed for them. How much more could I have shown love for this man that God loves as much as He loves me?
I pray that I might not let fear hold me back from trusting my instincts and loving others where they are. At the meeting I was coming from, our CEO shared the following video to remind us that everyone we come in contact with has a story if we listen.
To the man on the bridge, you’ll be a part of my story now and I’ll be praying for healing in your own story.