It was an ordinary afternoon, driving my middle child home from school, when I passed a scene on the side of the road. A pick up truck was backed up to a load of sod spilled across the road. Based on the position of the sod, you could tell it had slid off when turning the corner. I saw a man who was easily 15-20 years older than I, sweating and struggling, moving that sod back on the truck.
Normally, I have my garden gloves in the trunk (I am part of a community garden). Today, I didn’t. There also wasn’t a safe place to park, so that I could help him while my child sat in the car. It was a busy intersection and I didn’t want her out there helping me or doing Lord knows what, while I was distracted. So, we drove by.
But, I didn’t like it. It was eating at me, I should help this man. I don’t know if I could says I was “younger and stronger”, but I was certainly capable. The further I drove, the more it bothered me. In my head, the scene played out that someone would see me stopped helping him… and they too would stop and help. Then in short order, with all the the help, he’d be on his way. I had this vision of community coming together.
I pulled in to my driveway, ran into the house, grabbed my garden gloves and left my teenager in charge. I drove back to find the truck gone, and the sod still there in the road.
I drove by, found a parking lot to turn around in… and decided to head back home. In the amount of time it took me to turn around and get back to that spot of the intersection… THREE vehicles stopped to take some of the sod.
It all began making sense. The sod was dropped, most likely, by a larger truck. Probably from one of the local sod farms in the area. It wasn’t worth it the effort for them to load it back up. The man I saw was just one of many taking advantage of a blessing in the road. Clearly, not greedy, he took just enough and left the rest for others to glean from. (It makes me think of the fields in the Bible and how they would leave the remnants for the poor and widowed to glean from ).
But I couldn’t help and wonder… if I wasn’t there to help this man, why did I have such a burning conviction to turn around?
This could have been an exercise in obedience.
But, I think… more than likely, it was a lesson for my children. One of those moments where they see someone respond to a need.