Driving home in the light

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I like when I get home from church on Wednesday nights and it is still light out. At 8:00pm in the winter it is dark but this time of year the sun hasn’t set yet.  It seems like I have more time. Once while I was teaching a kindergarten ballet and gymnastics class a concerned student stated “Miss Ann, I think you have kept us at dance too long because it is dark out”. After a quick lesson on the concept of changing the clocks and reassuring her that mom would arrive to pick her up at the regular time, class continued.  A side note: when I was in Alaska, the time change and the extended hours of light were annoying. I never knew what time it was. But usually I enjoy the extra hours of daylight especially when I am driving home.

When my daughters were young, they would come to the studio after school. And depending on the day they may stay until I finished teaching or Bruce would pick them up and take them home. One Monday evening, Bruce came to pick up the girls and my youngest really wanted to stay. After some “discussion” she did go home as planned  which was good because the experience I had on the way home would never have happened if she had been with me.  It was in the late Spring so it was still light out and I was glad to be driving home in the daylight.  My route home that evening was Route 208 North, over Skyline Drive and then around the reservoir heading towards Greenwood Lake.  There isn’t usually traffic that time of evening. Unless it is in the winter and there is snow this is a pretty boring drive. So imagine my surprise as I rounded the curve and there is a car stopped on the side of the road and a woman is standing in the lane waving her arms. I drive around her and then pull over to see if I can help. I know nothing about cars but really felt I should stop.  Well, this is where it gets interesting. She says she has run out of gas.  There is a gas station just a little further down the road so I say I can go get her some gas.  The only problem is she has no gas can and no money. I only have a few dollars in cash but offer to go buy a little gas. I do notice that there are random items on her backseat a hose, tape, clothing but I don’t think that much about it.  Sometimes the stuff on my backseat may make people wonder. Anyway, I head to the gas station but the gas attendant won’t let me borrow a gas can so I can purchase gas.  I finally talk him into letting me borrow the gas can and promise I will bring it right back. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember the rest of the evening. When I get back to her car, we put the gas in and the car still doesn’t start. And suddenly the woman burst out “I can’t do anything right. I was parked over by the reservoir, trying to kill myself and I ran out of gas”.  My first thought is “Oh my, I am in way over my head”. Think, think…

Another car stops to help but I have a weird feeling about the guy so I inform the guy that we are okay and I offer to drive the woman home. “First, I have to return the gas can and then I will drive you home.”  I drive to the gas station, return the gas can and then tell her I need to call my husband.  This was years ago so there weren’t cell phones.  There was a payphone.  I call Bruce and say “I stopped to help someone and she was trying to commit suicide and you need to get her some help”  So he suggests calling our pastor but I remind him that Pastor Steve is away.  think, think… I ask him to go on our second line and call friends we have in Ringwood and ask them to call their pastor. So I am on one line waiting for Bruce to call friends on the second line and this woman is in my car.  And it is getting dark. Long story short, I tell the woman I haven’t eaten dinner and we go to MacDonald’s where my friend and her pastor are waiting to help. My friend’s pastor speaks with the woman, suggest that she seeks professional help and offers to pay for her to go to counseling.  She can’t believe that someone will pay for her to get help.  He gets her contact information and says he will call her tomorrow. And then I drive her home. The whole evening was like an out-of-body experience. As I drove home I was totally humbled. I don’t usually stop when I see someone stopped on the side of the road. I usually pray for someone to help them but this particular time I guess I was the one that was supposed to help.

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