A Stranger

Matt Chandler always says "Your life can change with a phone call."
With that in mind, Tori called me this afternoon.

She had chosen to stay longer than usual this weekend to help with wedding decorations. We got so much done, and we were working until 9:00 Sunday night. She has class in Chattanooga at 1:00 on Monday, so she chose to drive back in the morning.

"Hello." I said
". . .Did you hear what happened?" She said in an unsettling voice.

- at this point in a conversation things run through your head at rapid fire. Every situation comes barreling down on you at light speed. I didn't even know brains were capable of such speed. I shut my office door and sat down all in one fluid, robotic motion. I had somehow analyzed that even Tori herself could have been in a tragic car accident, even though she was the one on the phone. Apocalypse, death, disease, explosion, heart-break. . . I don't know why we do this, anyways. You are clearly about to find out what happened in .5 seconds, but somehow our mind decides it needs to prepare itself. Maybe if you think of it first, it won't be as much of a shock to the system. Beat the system. . .
Nobody in my family died. Nobody in my family was injured physically.

Have you ever driven to Chattanooga? Seen the declines and curves and run-away tractor trailer ramps? Well, Tori was driving to school when a man in a jeep possibly drifted to sleep or checked a text and veered into the guard rail. He then began to flip back in the opposite direction until he ran into the side of the mountain, being ejected from his car. Tori was there, behind him, to witness and to help. She stopped on the side of the road. Called 911, and sat with him. As everyone drove by, nobody else stopped to help. They all left it to little Tori. They left it to Tori to run up the rode until she found a mile marker. To run back to the man and try to talk to him. To try and fix his head wound. To try and ask about his wife who will get a terrible phone call today. To pray for him.

When the paramedics arrived, they asked for her account of what happened, then sent her on her way. They sent her away without knowing what would happen to him. If he would live or die. When would his wife find out? Did he have kids? Did he know God? They told her to leave.

In these intense, adrenaline-filled moments our body goes into auto pilot. It's almost like it is hard-wired to deal with it. It knows what to do. Then when it is done, it doesn't seem to have happened to us. Was it real? How long did it last? Did I wipe off all the blood?

I am insanely proud of Tori today. To immediately stop and help without a thought of whether or not she actually needed to. I don't know what I would do. Would I have assumed someone else more capable would help? Do we ever consider ourselves capable of such a task? Sitting with a stranger while their life hangs by a thread? Whose task is this, really? What were the other hundred passer-by's thinking as they drove by? "They have it handled" . . . Yea, Tori had it handled. I am sure those other people would be ashamed of themselves if they realized they left this job up to a 20 year-old girl with no medical knowledge. Needless to say, she did it, and she will probably be forever changed by this experience and the stranger who she may, or may not, ever hear from again.

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale

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