5 things I want to share from a non-incident
It was a night before Christmas, and it would have been spectacularly normal except for the feeling that was still with me the next morning. I had needed to run to the pharmacy, and while the sun was down it was only six thirty. The family were all doing different things, so I ran off by myself to return shortly.
I didn't get what I had hoped for, but such is the case on many store runs. You dribble and you shoot. As I walked out towards my car another car stopped to let me pass. As he pulled up a little past me his window was down and he said something which I could not hear. Taking one step closer to the vehicle, but far enough away so that I couldn't touch it, I asked him to repeat himself.
"We were wondering if you could help us," the older gentleman said. He was the only one in the front of the SUV and the rest of the windows were dark as night so I couldn't see anyone else or anything for that matter. My heart skipped a beat and a feeling washed over me I had never felt before. I turned my key chain out so it was sitting in my hand correctly and he could see it. This was not an offensive move, for I'm not sure he noticed. He went on about needing help, but never really said anything specific, so I asked with hesitation, "How do you need help, sir?"
They were going home, he was a vet if I would like to step closer to see the card in his hand, and they needed food, and some money. Later I wondered, if this was true did he feel like the holy family on their way to Bethlehem. No one to help, no where to go. But the feeling that pressed on my heart and soul then was not one of looking for a way to help this man.
You need to know, I'm someone who helps when they can. I tend to be a giver. So this feeling, this pressing, was not normal for me. It wasn't panic, but a clear sense of warning; pressing right in the middle of who I am. I stepped back slightly keeping away from the back door, my "weapon" at the ready, keeping everything in mind which my taekwondo/self-defense instructor had told me (or trying to), "I'm sorry sir, I don't have any money on me."
He mumbled something I couldn't hear, and it may have been an apology for bothering me, I don't know. But my heart was beating, and I only knew one word as it reverberated in my head, "Go." I stepped back to get in my car as he slowly drove off into the darkness, left the parking lot, and turned back into the street. I sat in my car wondering why he didn't go in and ask for help. Why didn't he ask anyone else in the area?
As I drove home that night I felt as if I were in an alternate world. I felt as if my life had just been saved, and as tears ran down my face, my goal was to get home as quickly as possible. I kept trying to remind myself that nothing had happened except that I spoke to an older man. Safe at home within the warm glow of my family I sat next to Captain. Holding his hand I whispered my story.
I made quite a few mistakes. I didn't pay attention to where I was parking when I got there, and I forgot to pay attention to what was behind me when I was speaking to him. I know I have much more to learn and I am now on a quest to learn as much as I can.
And this is where I need you to listen::
(1) Help those you can, when you can. Be okay not helping all the time.(2) Always stay alert to your surroundings.(3) Listen to yourself. Listen to the warnings even if they don't make sense.(4) Know how to defend yourself. Give yourself a chance.(5) Be grateful for each day you receive.
It was an ordinary night where nothing extraordinary happened. Yet I walked away with a renewed gratitude for my life, listening a little more to my soul, and a new goal on the horizon.