Saturday, May 12, 2012

A car in flames, yet people laughed

I haven't blogged in a few weeks; I try to only blog about big events or updates.  Today, something happened.

I'm in Salisbury, MD doing a book buyback for work.  A little while ago I was starting to doze off (been a long week).  It's a bit too early to go to sleep so I went outside of my hotel to walk around and enjoy the last bit of sunshine.  As I was walking (barefoot) I saw some smoke from a little ways off in another parking lot.  As I walked closer I could hear bangs and saw flames.  I ran.  Towards the flames.  I didn't yet hear sirens to signify help.  As I closed in on the flames I saw a pickup truck engulfed in flames.  My thought was that I have emergency first aid and CPR training.  But more importantly, I felt a draw to make sure no one was in that truck.  Training aside, I knew that I had a responsibility to help.

I met a man, Anthony, and his toddler son near the truck.  Anthony informed me that no one was in the truck and it was in fact his pop pops truck.  Apparently, the AC wasn't working and all of a sudden the truck caught on fire.  I'm don't have a mechanical mind, so I have no idea why.  By this time a firetruck had arrived and began putting out the flames as more loud bangs came from it.

What struck me, as with so many experiences, was the crowd.  There must have been over a dozen people around snapping photos while watching.  Others driving by with camera phones out the window.  Then there was Anthony and his family.  Forcing back the tears.  I started talking to him and encouraging him.  I even got to pray for him and his family.  As Anthony shared with me he said that this was his pop pops only vehicle and didn't know how he'd be able to get another one.  Of all the people around, only one other woman took the time to talk with the family.  It seemed like everyone else was just focused on watching the fire burn.  A few were even laughing about it while this family watched their truck burn beyond repair.

I guess this just makes me ask one simple question:  will you stop?  I mean it.  Will you stop?  Will you put aside the Facebook picture opportunity and talk to someone?  Will you put aside fears and run in to see if someone needs help?  Why is it that our culture is so focused on self preservation and self-centeredness that the majority of us can't even offer some comfort to a hurting family?

Maybe this is a little of a judgmental side of me coming out here.  But it truly breaks my heart to see this over and over again.  I remember it happening once while I was in TN after seeing a bad car accident; no one stopped...It happened with Peter in Kenya; the crowds simply mocked him...It seems to be a common occurrence.  What would life look like if we started putting others first?  What would life look like if we took the time to see hurting people and show them compassion?  I am by no means saying that I'm perfect at this.  But it's something that I want to make an effort to practice more every day.  So, what will it look like to you?  Believe me, if you make a commitment to live ONE WEEK putting others first, you'll have an experience like this too.  Will you do it?  Or will you be the one sitting by watching?

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