Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm an ambulance-chaser.


First a bit of background: My husband generally picks my son up from daycare, as he gets off before I do. Today, due to circumstances at his work, I had to pick my son up. Both of our workplaces and my son's preschool are very close to our house. One main road takes me from my office, past my husband's workplace, past my house, and to my son's preschool. Okay, got it? Eh, close enough.

I had just pulled onto the main road off my office's campus when sirens interrupted my wailing along with the radio. (I was listening to Taylor Swift very loudly, and between her twang and my singing, didn't hear the sirens at first.) I pulled over to the side and, once the ambulance passed, got into the lane behind it.

Then it turned right. And I realized that it was heading down the road that leads to my husband's work. And my son's preschool.




Being a mature and logical individual, I proceeded to floor it. You know in bad action movies when someone jumps into a taxi and throws a bunch of cash down and yells, "Follow that car!" I was driving like that stereotypical cabbie.

After a few minutes of running too-close yellow lights and a questionable level of adherence to speed limits, the ambulance turned off, and it was clear they were heading to neither my husband's workplace nor my son's preschool.

I breathed a sigh of relief, and resumed warbling to the radio.

It wasn't until about an hour later, retelling the story to my husband after having picked up my son and arriving safely home, that I realized I was being a pretty crappy Christian.

Obviously it's natural to be relieved that my nearest and dearest are safe. But, judging by the emergency vehicles, someone else's nearest and dearest aren't.

And I didn't spare them so much as a passing thought, much less a prayer, so great was my relief for my own.

Those theoretical strangers weren't real to me, so I didn't care about them. And that's really sucky on my part.

I'm not saying that we should all fall into paroxysms of grief every time we read about the tens of thousands of civilians killed in Iraq, or the growing epidemic of AIDS in Africa. But we should stop to remember that these are not just numbers, but real people, with people grieving them.

And it wouldn't hurt for us to stop and remember them in a moment of prayeful thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice article. We all do it, but it doesn't make it right.

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