I saw her

The past two days have been an adventure, to say the least.   After the news in Boston and Texas, it felt good to get out for a road trip on Thursday. Except for the driving rain.  And the flooding. And the difficulty doing simple things … like seeing where I was going!

But, eventually, I drove out of the storms and found myself enjoying the ride — the winding roads, the hills, farms and fields.  Arriving at my destination, I was met by the smiling face of one of my employees.  Our meetings went well, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a quaint Northern town and then, off we went again, driving through the rain and the hills and the snow to another city I’ve never visited before.

Wrapping up yesterday, we soon realized that I couldn’t go home the same way I’d came in.  You see, the city I live in has a large river snaking through it and the banks were already compromised; every river north of here is swollen and spilling over.  I decided to reroute and travel south along the Lake Huron shoreline and then make my way West from there.

Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to get out and stand!

Lake Huron .. from inside my car, way too cold to get out and stand!

Just before a stretch of open road, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed: the gas gauge was low. A lot lower than it should have been for the distance I still had to go.  I took an exit off the highway into an area I’ve never been and, driving along, it seemed to take forever to see any signs of gas stations or … civilization. My nerves kicked in and I felt my hands shaking just a bit.

Oh geez, I thought. Wouldn’t this be just perfect? I muttered.  C’mon gas station where are you? and then a chime-chime-chime of the gas alert.  Oh Lord, here we go.

Coming around a bend in the road, I saw it: a little country stop called, “Gas N Go.”   Let’s hope it’s open. 

I pulled up, filled up, and walked inside to pay.   As I opened the door, here she came: a little (and I mean tiny) old lady in a rain hat and boots, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you know the roads?”

Holding the door, my hair flying in the wind, I replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t. I’m not from around here.”  She put her head down and started to walk away when something made me  ask “Where are you headed?”

Looking up, her bright blue eyes peeking out from under her plastic rain hat, she said, “Well, I’m headed to Belding; you see my sister died and I need to get there.”   I touched her arm lightly and said, “I’m so sorry; you know the roads are bad and it’s flooding and are you sure you should be going?”  Again those blue eyes, “I have to” and off she headed to her truck.

I went inside to pay and felt my emotions get the best of me. That could be my Mom out on a country road. That could be me.

I blurted out my concerns to the clerk: that she shouldn’t be out in this, and couldn’t we do something?  Behind me stood an older man, a farmer-looking kind of man. The kind of man who could have been my Dad or my neighbor growing up.   I heard him clear his throat and put his change on the counter; he stepped ahead of me and went straight to her truck.  In the wind and the driving rain, I saw him pointing forward and telling her road names.

Driving back to the highway, I thought of her. I prayed for her. And yes, I cried for her.

You see, as a girl who lives so far from what’s familiar, there’s much of my life that’s an adventure. But there are also moments like this when I feel the pinch of not living where things are known to me.

Last night, I found myself telling Hubbs about that encounter.  He listened, as he always does, and then said something that resonated with me. “No you couldn’t help her, you didn’t know your way, but you did what you could: you saw her.”

Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re not meant to solve everyone’s problems. Maybe the best we can do is take a moment and see someone.

Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on. ~Henry Burton, Pass It On

Categories: Faith, fear, Friendship, Growth, Home, Life, Mom, Personal, Random, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “I saw her

  1. You may never know just how much your kindness meant to her; or that the guy that gave her directions was actually wondering how he could help. You did well. 🙂

    • Thank you, RR, I hadn’t thought of that — that the fellow who ultimately helped her maybe he was looking for a way to do so. Thanks! MJ

  2. Seeing a lower-than-expected fuel gauge is unsettling, especially when you don’t know your surroundings. I’m glad you “saw” her. You did your part to get her the assistance needed.

    • That’s just it — I have the occasional road trip but they’re usually under 2 hours .. this was a full day of driving and I knew better, I think I was just weary. But the fact that I was rerouted even that way – to an area I’ve never been to see a lady I’ve never seen and a place I’ve never stopped … crazy isn’t it? Thank you MJ

  3. Because you saw her, we saw her…thank you so much for sharing.

    • Aww, thanks. I hadn’t thought of it that way. I thought about her all the way home, while writing this and even this morning. MJ

  4. Aw.MJ, your posts are always so uplifting. This one brought tears to my eyes. I’m glad you saw her, and that you voiced your concerns, which prompted the “farmer” to go and offer her advice. You possibly saved her life!
    Although I’ve heard the “pass it on” suggestion, I’ve never heard the quote. It’s wonderful.
    Glad you found the gas station; that must have been terrifying!

    • Thank you, Dianna. I am particularly sensitive to a little old lady on her own (I can relate to being fiercely independent) b/c that’s my Mom. Even though she has lots of family around her she is very determined to go it alone; I could so easily see her doing the same thing.

      I found that quote as I wrote down this story and thought it was just perfect and yes, it was frightening thinking I might run out of gas — I never let that happen so really have no sense of how long I have before it would have occurred (Hubbs assures me that I was probably good for 25 miles but still …

      I appreciate your weighing in, as always. MJ

  5. Thank goodness you “saw her.” You did what she couldn’t do with her thoughts only on her sister and having to reach her destination. You were a woman she recognized she could trust to ask, just as you recognized her need. And you asked for her. Your well written story reminds me of Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer “Let me be an instrument…”
    Sounds like you had quite a week. The Hubbs has to be very glad you’re home safe and sound, you adventuresome girl.

    • Thank you; I do think she asked me because I was the only woman around .. there was a Dad who walked past her with 2 little kids, me and the “farmer” man. I felt so badly for her and so inadequate; your comments do offer relief b/c maybe it was in my voicing my concerns that the other fellow “saw” her, too.

      Hubbs is a Virgo — he hates for me to be gone; he’d rather I stay right here where I’m safe and sound -forever and for always! I’m a Gemini — travel – even a work road trip – is exciting to me 🙂


  6. I’m not surprised that you offered assistance. You are always thoughtful of others and inspire that through your posts.

    • It was modeled for me; Dad pulled plenty off teenagers’ cars off sandbars when he would rather have been working in the field, Mom dropped everything to cook meals for someone who lost a family member. When you see real charity growing up, it becomes instinctual going forward.

      And after this week, I am reminded even more of the power of kindness … look at all the people in Boston who ran TOWARD the bombings so as to help. Look at those who offered total strangers places to live or resources while they were stranded. Amazing.

      This is a great country filled with (mostly) kind and caring people. I know you would do the same thing, Renee. Bests! MJ

  7. Gosh I love your blog…

  8. Yea! (it’s late and I’m just checking in on your blog) good stuff. DM

    • I knew you would get it, DM. Guess what I saw on my way home? Driving along a country road … near some orchards, I saw it. A little stand with firewood and a cash lockbox with a note. Couldn’t read the note but I thought of you & box at the apple stand 🙂

      Life lessons abound all around us!


  9. You were a kind face and an approachable person to her. You couldn’t help her, but your concern was enough to promote the help she needed through another person. How many others would have just said, “Nope. Sorry,” and then gone on to forget about her? You are so full of kindness, MJ!

    • Thank you, Terri. It was such a desperate feeling but I do believe my route was changed for bigger reasons than just my inconvenience! Bests, MJ

  10. What a beautiful story…you illustrate how easy it is for us to all stay focused on our own busy life / needs, and miss those around us who are a little more fragile, a little less able. I agree, even seeing the need, we may not be able to fill it. But surely, seeing makes us more aware of others that we can help. Thought provoking and generous! And of course you would see someone like this woman, that’s the kind of person you are. Thank you! ~ Sheila

    • Thank you for your kind words; I’ve been busy rushing through my day many a-time but I’m glad I saw her on that day. I’m sure there’s been some I’ve missed, too. It’s just a reminder to slow down and see the humanity that is all around us … can we see it? Will we see it? And then?


  11. Pingback: On Nudges | Emjayandthem's Blog

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