Thursday, July 5, 2012

Priceless Treasures in Jars of Clay

Today I witnessed something that floored me, then made me want to weep for mankind.

It was a simple thing.  My husband and I had just dropped off our son and daughter in law at their apt. We were at the stop sign waiting for traffic to thin out so we could pull out into the street.  There on the other side of the street, a VERY elderly woman stepped out on the street and began to cross.  So focused was she upon the street, and her cane, that she was not paying attention to the traffic.

The lane close to her was clear, but the lane on our side was not.  She kept walking and I held my breath as she crossed the center lane with traffic bearing down upon her.  It was a main street in a small community.  Despite what the city officials might want to call this town, "progressive, upcoming, energizing and growing" we knew what it really was.  "Small, proud, territorial, roll the sidewalks up at 6:00, no one locks their door, neighbors look out for neighbors SMALL town America".

But here in front of me, I was being proven wrong.  Rather than stop in the lane and let this very elderly lady get safely to the sidewalk on our side, the driver pulled in so close, she could have pushed the lady.  We watched her impatience with the lady's halting steps across the pavement.  The driver never stopped her car from rolling.  If the lady had faltered and fallen, the car would have hit her.  The sweet elderly lady was totally unaware that the car was there, that the driver was furious or there was a line backing up.

Are we really so busy that we can not wait for a WOMAN to finish her walk across a street?  This was not a highway.  This was a thoroughfare in a small town where we are required to stop for GEESE who walk their goslings across the roads from lake to lake.  Yet the irate driver cared less for this sweet woman's welfare than she had to for the geese.

She could have been my grandma.  She could have been yours.  She was hard of hearing, stooped and wearing a dress with long sleeves and a sweater in the sweltering 102 degree heat.  She passed in front of us, not knowing we were there.  The irate driver, spun past her mouth still spewing her filth from inside the car...(you could read her gestures).  Mr. Rosey pulled out into the street, and just as quickly I told him to stop.  He pulled down another side street like the one we just pulled out of.

"We have to offer her a ride honey.  She's wearing that long sleeved dress and she's out here alone.  Obviously the jerks don't care if she's unaware she's in danger."  So Mr. Rosey dutifully turned around, and at the next block we crossed the drive and blocked her pathway.

Please Ma'am let us give you a ride? I asked.  I had to repeat myself twice.  She was hard of hearing

"Well aren't you a sweet thing" she told me, but she was fine.

I told her it is terribly hot outside, and you have no covering on your head.  Please, I will take you anywhere in town, I offered.

She was smiling hugely as she thanked me but again declined.  She pointed to a diner around the corner, and told me "I'm just headed there for lunch."  My fear of her crossing another street, I pleaded with her to allow us to drive her the block to the diner.

"Oh no," she answered.  "You sweet thing, I have never been asked to be given a ride and I walk everywhere.  What is your name?"  I told her and she again thanked me but declined again, telling me she needed to the exercise.  She is a priceless treasure.

So I told her, if she was certain, to PLEASE take care crossing the street.  She smiled and lifted her gnarled hand to me, the delicate veins glowing through her skin.  "Thank you kindly for the offer and God bless you for it."  It did not feel right to leave her there, but I also couldn't bodily toss her into my vehicle and I did not want to alarm her by insisting that she come with us because my fear was heightened by watching her cross the street.  

We drove away.  I told Mr. Rosey, if she's still walking down that side walk when we come back this way, I will INSIST that she let us drive her to her real destination.  It appears she was telling the truth as just moments later she was no where visible along the long stretch of hot sidewalk.

My heart is kind of achy.  She was such a gentle darling.  Have we as Americans come to have so little value for our elderly that we nearly push them down in the street?  We get frustrated behind them in grocery lines as they painstakingly count out cash.  It was two week ago,  I heard a rude woman yell forward to the elderly woman at the cashier's side as she counted out her bills....One...Two....Three. "Haven't you ever heard of a DEBIT card?"

I held myself together.  I did not let Rosey snark back to that rude trashy excuse of human flesh, but I knew what I wanted to say....Yes, it was really holding up the line.  But she deserved her time in the market just as we did.  We could have easily jumped to another line....our baskets were not unloaded.  I scathingly glanced at the basket of junk food and soda the rude woman waited behind, and at the EBT card in her hand.  Food stamps.  How is that appropriate?  Yelling at the elderly woman buying her butter, cheese, bread, potatoes and milk because she is counting out her cash, while you stand with your basket to purchase what I consider junk with welfare monies?  I would have liked to shaken her, maybe even slapped her a time or two but as I said, I controlled myself.  I could have pointed out that the elderly woman might be able to use cash and not depend on the government to supply her need.

This beloved generation who survived the BIG wars, lived on their gardens, experienced the American dreams, knew what real Depression was but still grew this not to be subjected to such disrespect on the basis they are slow, they are in the way, they are not productive.

My heart clinches when I read that individuals 75 years of age, will stand before counsels of Dr.s and government who will determine if you are productive enough as a citizen to treat your diseases or if they will decide that you do not contribute enough to society to treat your diabetes, your emphysema, your cancer.  So go put your affairs in order.

And our highest court declared this to be LEGAL?  Yes, I went there.  They will have some fancy name for the process.  It won't be called a "Death Counsel", but as my father said,

When it walks like a duck, has feathers like a duck, has a bill like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks.  Then's a duck.  It won't matter what OUR government calls this counsel...we know the duck when we see it.

My gut churns and my heart twists as I remember the frailness of the little lady this morning and her delight to be "asked" if she would like a ride.  Who will look out for her and those like her?

I know who it better be.  It darn well better be the church who rushes to the chaos to care for our elderly, our disabled, our sick ones.  Because it won't be our government.  And it doesn't look like general average America will either.

Dear Sweet woman, I pray you made it home safely and that there is someone who checks on you.  I pray you rest easy and your sleep is sweet. I pray you are comfortable in your home and you have plenty of food to eat.   I pray someone loves you and delights in you, and shares your life with joy.  And I pray if you ever need a ride, that I am the driver crossing the street.

2 Corinthians 4: 4-9  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely right in your anger towards those drivers and your empathy towards this woman. As a culture we are all in such a hurry that we often become inconsiderate towards others...this reminded me of a piece I just read in the Buffalo news this weekend...I'm pasting the link below...I think you'll appreciate it...