The Kids

The Kids

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Stranger

It is fun living in Goshen. 

There are all sorts of interesting people in this area.  Our little cul-de-sac often talks about how we have all lucked out having each other for neighbors.  None of us quite fit the Goshen stereotype.

Yep, I see what I wrote and I sound like a complete snob. 

However, I grew up on a dairy farm, and I can tell the difference between country folk (a good thing) and, well, there are no words for who I am trying to describe.

I say all of this to prepare you for this story.

We were driving home from Abby's end of the year soccer party yesterday and as we entered our neighborhood, we saw a woman walking out of the neighborhood, in tears, carrying a toddler.  My heart immediately hurt for her and that baby because something terrible must have happened to have her walking away in the heat with nothing but her purse.

And this is why I love my husband.  He was already turning around to find out how we could help.

We slowed down and Nick asked if we could do anything.  She shook her head, wiped away her tears, and kept going.  He turned the van around so that I was on the same side of the street and she finally stopped and talked.

She began giving us a story about how she was at her sister's house, but that her sister was letting her boyfriend stay there, who they found out was a registered sex offender.

I was so glad that the kids were in the backseat not hearing her words.

She had no plan.  She had just grabbed her baby and started walking.  She explained that her keys were in the house, but that she did not want to go back and get them while he was there. 

We convinced her to get in the car so that we could take her somewhere.  Now mind you, I am not someone who would normally pick up a stranger, especially while my kids are in the car.  But, I just kept looking at that little boy, in the hot sun, with no protection, and knew that we could not let her hitchhike her way somewhere.

She decided to go back to the house and told her story along the way.  Since the drive was a whole 45 seconds, she stayed in the car and kept talking while we sat in the stranger's driveway.  Part of me was expecting an angry man to come out with a gun and I almost dialed our policeman neighbor just in case.

She started going on about this guy (to which Nick turned the radio on in the back speakers to drown out her words for the kids) and her story got more bizzare with every minute.  Somehow her keys were in their house, but her car had a flat tire somewhere else.  She said her cell phone was dead and the charger was with the car.  She claimed that she lived on the other side of the city and then she threw out the important information that she is bipolar and manic.


All the while, her sweet baby was walking around in our van, smiling at our kids. 

Once we realized that she just needed to cool down, she got out, grabbed her baby and her bag and headed for the house.  We were at a loss at what to do. Call the police?  Nothing had actually happened for us to report.  Go to the door and get involved?  Uh, no. 

So, we left.

As soon as we pulled into our driveway, Abby found the woman's cell phone in the back.  Just out of curiousity, Nick looked to see if it was truly dead, as she had said.

It had four bars and 37 text messages.

Which he did not read.  He quickly put the phone down, got us our of the car, and headed back to give her the phone.

I paced the entire minute he was gone.

She had still been standing outside, having a smoke, so he handed her the phone and kept driving.

All of this leaves us to wonder-was any of the story true?  Something had scared her enough to start walking with no plan.  Was she on something?

Honestly, I will never know the truth, but I do know that my heart is still hurting for that little child.  He just walked around our van, smiling and enjoying the kids, not knowing the awful situation he was in the middle of. 

Once we were in our house, Nick looked at me and said, "My life is not so bad, is it?"  We just hugged and looked at how lucky we are.

And why are we?  Because we had great parents who raised us with morals and loved us unconditionally.  Because we know of God's grace that we do not deserve. 

I just look at my children and wonder if they will ever truly understand how lucky they are.  To be born into a family full of love. 

Then I think about that little boy and pray that he is shown that same kind of love.  That he is kept out of harm and that his innocence stays around a long time.

I am not sure what we accomplished yesterday by driving her back to that house.  Maybe it kept them from hitchhiking with the wrong person.  Maybe it kept her from passing out in the heat.  Maybe it just reminded me to be praying for people that I do not even know.

Either way, my heart still aches for them.

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