STOP STARING AND GET UNCOMFORTABLE
Part of my job requires me to drive to places in the middle of nowhere. I am a forester for a large paper company, in case I failed to mention that before now. For auditing and pricing purposes we have to make sure the wood we buy is coming from the correct piece of land…so I do a lot of driving and 'wood watching'. On Thursdays, I always take Church to read with his students during lunch hour and then I capitalize on the opportunity for some mother-son bonding by taking him with me to check on a few tracts of wood in the afternoon. He’s a great rider and I just generally feel safer (and more full of joy) when he’s with me.
We were going about 55 mph down a county road today when I noticed the car in front of me was at a complete stop in the middle of the road. There was a tractor trailer stuck in a ditch ahead of the stopped car. It was obvious that the trailer could not move forward or backward safely, especially with oncoming traffic flying by. The car in front of me maneuvered his way around the truck.
I kept going too…then I saw there were cattle in the trailer (the animal lover in me may have played a part in my next decision)…I stopped. I put my truck in reverse and pulled over to the side of the road. I got out and awkwardly walked over to the driver (who was certainly embarrassed by his mistake at this point) and just simply asked him if there was any way I could help him. A simple act. A simple question that we all need to be more comfortable asking.
I knew I couldn’t drive his truck any better than him, or even physically help him move anything at that point (I work out, but let’s be real y’all). I was out of my comfort zone to stop and ask him if he needed help, it would have been totally easy and even acceptable in my mind at the time to keep driving, and let him suffer in his own problems. I was emotionally and physically burdened at that moment for that man, which led me to stop. I forced myself to push pass the ‘uncomfortable’ so that I could show him a simple act of kindness.
When I reflected on this afterwards I was even more burdened by the whole situation. Everyone stares as they drive down the road at this man’s problem. Some are even annoyed with him that he wasted some of their precious time. We do this same thing in so many areas of our lives. Why don’t we stop? Why don’t we ask him if there is any way we can help him through this? Because it’s uncomfortable. Because it’s awkward. Because we’d feel more relaxed to just mind our own business and keep driving. We need to stop using un-comfort as an excuse and start using it as motivation. Change does not happen in your comfort zone, it happens once your step out of it.
I am not ranting about this because I am perfect at it and want to toot my own horn for what I did today. Actually, the opposite is true. It was OUT OF CHARACTER and UNCOMFORTABLE for me to stop and ask that man if I could help him (let's remember, I actually drove past him!). It burdened my heart so badly to know that I am usually the one staring and driving by, I’m the one complaining that I’m now running late because of that man’s mistake. I want to ask more of myself as a human, as a servant. I want to force myself to get uncomfortable for the sake of helping others and transforming relationships. I want to stop staring and start doing. And I’m starting with today.