When we hear or read stories about people stepping up to assist in the midst of a natural disaster or an accident, we would like to think that we would do likewise. Yet, there is a lingering doubt that maybe we would freeze or take the easier path. We often cover up those feelings of potential inadequacy or cowardice with the refrain: “It takes a special person to do something like that. He/she is a real hero!”
Recently, I had the chance to witness this phenomenon up close and personally. My daughter, on her way to her nursing job at a regional hospital, encountered a horrific scene as she was travelling 65 miles per hour in the fast lane. She observed a car maneuvering in front of her as if to avoid hitting something. She was correct. The driver ahead was darting out of the way of a significant amount of debris. She needed to do likewise, and as she did she saw what looked like a body that had been hit and was somewhat dismembered. But, she did not have time to dwell on that as she observed a car crushed and smoking in the divide ahead.
My daughter got out of her car, locked it after grabbing her keys and cell phone, and called 911. After the call she made her way to the crashed vehicle and heard a woman screaming for help. Avoiding getting hit herself, she attempted to open the passenger door and realized it was stuck. She went to the other side and, because of how the car was lodged, she had to jump over the divide and back over again to open the door. After assessing the driver, she had her turn off the vehicle and assisted her in getting her belongings and dog out of the car. Once the firemen arrived, she told them what had happened and then went on to work her 8-hour shift. (It wasn’t until days later that the full story emerged that a 69-year-old man had been walking on the freeway when this woman inadvertently hit him.)
Although I received a call soon after the accident, I didn’t see my daughter face-to-face until the following morning. Upon entering the house, she looked at me and broke down in tears. I was able to see first-hand what post-traumatic stress looks like. I did the mother-thing: gave her some adrenal supplements, made her breakfast, and listened to her tell what had happened. Funny thing is that while I was taken by her courage and quick thinking, she was not presenting as someone who felt like a hero. She was second guessing herself and dealing with all the thoughts that had run through her mind before, during, and after the accident.
Is my daughter a special person? Is she more quick-minded that most? Does her nursing degree and license explain her actions? The better question is this: What is instilled in her that allowed her to make the choices and decisions she did? As her mom, I can attest to the fact that her relationship with the Lord is not a distant fact nor a remote concept. I can also look back on the training she received in our home regarding the responsibility of a bystander in assisting others when the situation presents itself.
Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.
Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. (Deut. 22:1–4)
She also grew up learning the application of Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37), and having a thorough understanding that doing what is right is more a testimony to obedience to the law of God than being a special person.
Proverbs 23:25 reads: Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. I rejoice, not because I have a special daughter, but that I serve a faithful God. For it is God and the faithful teaching and mentoring of many who instilled in my husband and me that we were to train up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. How blessed it is to see the Fruit of the Spirit in the life of my daughter.