She was walking down the middle of the street towards oncoming traffic.
If I hadn’t noticed the car braking next to me, I may have missed her completely. A terrifying fear pierced my heart. If she would have been in my lane, she would have been dead! The dark hour hid her from view until it was almost too late. She was zoned out, walking diligently in a zombie-like state.
The pleasant dinner my niece and I had planned was now overshadowed by our drive across town.
“She looked like she was on drugs.” My niece mused aloud.
That would be the most convincing explanation. But, reacting to a recent heartbreak was MY first thought.
Years of counseling teenagers led me to amass story after story of how life wasn’t worth living because a relationship had ended. The romantic love epitomized by “Romeo & Juliet”.
As years turn into decades and heartaches accumulate, most find the value of life to increase; The joy of having a child in contrast to losing one. The heartache of losing that first love and the pain of losing a loved one.
Once, when I was a teenager I presumed my life was so unbearable that death was the better option. I am humbled to say that God had other plans for my life.
I wonder if she had anyone to confide in? A task I have devoted many years to because I felt that was mostly what my life lacked.
Not long ago I spoke to a girl who was sobbing so violently I was sure she had just discovered that her mom had cancer! But as her sobs became words, rejection from a boy was found to be the heart-wrenching culprit. That was major to her at this time in her young life. She hasn’t been affected by cancer. The experience of losing a much-anticipated child was a generation away.
The gentle conversation soon eased her heart. The aching caused by an unthinking adolescent was soon diminished by anecdotes of experience. The following week would bring another heartache as life often does. But a phone call to a sympathetic friend, a willing shoulder lent to cry on, helps make the journey easier as bearing one another’s burden’s should.
But what about the girl that stopped traffic?
What if it wasn’t drugs? What if SHE had just had her first encounter with losing a loved one to cancer? Or losing her child? What if she didn’t have anyone to turn to.
The traffic in her lane stopped as mine sped on. Her life was spared, but was it changed?
Did someone reach out in her obvious time of need? I watched the news that night hoping to glean a clue to who she was.
I can’t get her blank stare out of my mind. I wonder what would have happened if she would have been in my lane.
If our lives would have intersected.
How many other young women are walking alone out in this cold world full of heartbreaks, wondering if their life is worth living?
Asking the questions, “Who Am I?”
“Does My Life Matter?”
…If she would have been in my lane, would I have stopped to help her?
I’m hoping we both say yes.