I have to admit it, this one’s on me. It’s my fault. I’m to blame. All eight fingers and two thumbs are pointing back at me. The reason I’m writing this article was due to my actions, or should I say my inactions.

Here’s the story.

It was around noon on a Saturday, and as usual, I was running errands around town. As I drove to one of my stops, I noticed a “Right Lane Closed Ahead” sign. Since I was already in the right lane, I decided to move over to the left lane. When I reach the left lane, the car directly ahead of me abruptly stopped. Since I was already in the process of braking, my car stopped just in time to avoid rear-ending the car in front of me.

With a line of cars stopped ahead of me, I glanced in my rearview mirror. The writing on the mirror said, “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” Well, the vehicle behind me looked very close and it was getting closer. Thankfully, it stopped before hitting me.

My car was stopped about 10 to 15 seconds when I began to see the line of cars ahead of me beginning to move. Then, just when the car directly in front of me began to slowly roll forward, I glanced back in my driver-side rearview mirror. Suddenly, I saw a vehicle several cars behind me, driving in the middle turn lane. My first thought was that the vehicle wanted to bypass the waiting cars and cut into the head of the line. Then, I happened to see that the vehicle had damage to the rear passenger side. Just then, I looked in my passenger-side rearview mirror and saw another car veer into the right lane. That car also had damage, and I saw debris in the street.

I immediately thought “Accident”, and I started praying.

With my car stopped, no cars ahead of me, and a line of cars behind me, I decided to check to make sure the people in the accident were okay. Since I was heading south and there were no cars in the northbound lanes, I decided to make a U-turn.

As I approached the car in the middle turn lane, I realized that the driver was on her cell phone. I attempted to get her attention to ask if she was okay, however, her windows were up.  The damage to her vehicle didn’t look very bad, and she looked uninjured, so I decided to go to the next car.

As I approached the next car, I had to look over two lanes of traffic, because the car was parked on the right-hand shoulder. The two occupants had already exited the vehicle, and one lady was inspecting the damage to the bike rack, and the other lady was looking at the shattered bike parts all over the street.

Next, I turned my attention to the SUV which caused the accident. The SUV’s driver-side hood was severely damaged, and both driver and passenger airbags were deployed. When I saw the damage to the vehicle, I began to pray more fervently. My car slowly approached the vehicle on the driver’s side, and when I reached it, I noticed the driver’s side door was open. I didn’t see anyone in the front two seats. Then I heard someone shouting. I realized that the shouting was coming from a frantic young woman on her cell phone. I could just see her head through the rear passenger side window. She was standing outside the vehicle screaming into the phone hysterically.

“I just had an accident,” were the only words I could make out. I tried my best to see if someone else was in the vehicle, but I did not see anyone.

As I was peering into the back seat of the accident vehicle from inside my car, a man in a black SUV parked behind the accident vehicle with his hazard lights on. I figured since the woman who caused the accident wasn’t physically hurt, she was on the phone, and a gentleman had stopped to assist her; I decided to leave.

I know. It wasn’t my best moment. But wait, it gets worse.

So, I drove away without assisting anyone in the accident, and now, I’m heading in the wrong direction. The further my vehicle got away from the accident, the heavier my heart became. By the time I reached the next traffic light, my conscience was really bothering me. I decided to turn around and go back to the accident scene.

Although it took me less than a minute to get to the traffic light, it took me several minutes to get back to the accident scene. This was due to traffic build-up from the accident on top of traffic being forced to one lane. The black SUV’s flashers were still on, however, the police nor EMS had arrived. I slowly rolled past the black SUV when I noticed, between the black SUV and the accident vehicle, were two women consoling the young driver. As my car crept forward, I saw a lady standing by the rear passenger side door. Since construction cones were just starting to merge traffic to the left, I had to squeeze around the right side of the accident vehicle. Just as I passed the lady, and I could finally see into the back seat of the vehicle. There was a baby in a car seat. Thankfully, the baby was fine.

I thought to myself, “No wonder the young lady was hysterical.”

The worst part is that since I saw additional people had joined the accident scene, I kept driving.  This time, as I drove off, the story came to mind of the Good Samaritan.

Jesus told the story of a Jewish man walking between the two cities Jerusalem and Jericho, and several thieves ambushed the unsuspecting man. They beat him, stripped him, and left him for dead. Then, a priest came by, saw the man lying there, and he walked on the other side of the road. Next, a Levite came by, saw the man, and looked him over. Then, the Levite left the man on side of the road and continued his journey. Finally, a Samaritan came by, saw the man was hurt and treated his wounds. He then put the injured man on his own animal and took him to an Inn to take care of him. The next day, the Samaritan told the Innkeeper to take care of the man and paid him money. The Samaritan said if it cost more than what he gave the Innkeeper, he would repay whatever he owed when he returned.

Then Jesus asked his disciples, “Which of the three were the man’s neighbor? And his disciples said the one that showed mercy on him.” (Luke 10:37 KJV)

During that time, Jews and Samaritans did not get along. The point Jesus made was that two men who were the Jewish mans’ own countrymen, passed him by without helping. But the Samaritan, who would have normally been his enemy, stopped and went over and above his duty to help him.

Then there’s me. I became both the priest and the Levite in less than 10 minutes. I drove on one side of the road and then passed by on the other side without stopping or at least asking did they need help.

I felt bad. I felt really bad as I headed towards the place I was originally going to. When I finally reached the turn to the store I was going to, I just felt like going back home. However, at the last minute, I decided to make the turn into the parking lot. I was going to a home improvement store and as I drove down the main drive to the front of the store, there was a “STOP” sign. It just so happened that I was directly in front of the “Tool Rental” area.

While I waited at the stop sign for a car to pass by, I noticed just in front of the “Tool Rental” door, there was a man in the bed of a pickup truck. Suddenly, I saw something fall out of the back of the truck bed. It made a loud thud on the ground. So, instead of turning right at the “STOP” sign, I decided to drive over toward the pickup truck.

Laying on the ground was a heavy jackhammer and a dolly turned on their side. I rolled down my window to ask the man did he need help. However, he was just hopping off the back of the truck when I asked him the first time, and he didn’t hear me. Then, the man came closer to my vehicle, so I asked him again did he need help. This time, the man said he appreciated my offering to help him, but he declined. He was just returning the jackhammer, so he didn’t need any help getting it back into the truck.

Offering to help him at least made me feel a little better.

A simple drive to the home improvement store turned into a life lesson. God is always teaching us things about ourselves if we really want to learn. I repented for not being helpful at the accident scene.

But just before I made a promise to God that, “The next time I’m in that situation, I’m going to help no matter what”, I stopped myself. Instead, I simply said, “From now on, I’ll do better.”

I didn’t say that I was proud of that confession, and I definitely didn’t say I was right. I guess what I am saying is that I’m a work in progress, and I’m glad God is still working with me. And God is not done with me yet.

G. Edward Wyche

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