Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Parent’s Nightmare: Lessons from an 11 year old’s bike accident – Part 1

Yesterday was a day I will never forget. My oldest son had just left on his bike for the bus stop, and I was firing up my laptop next to my other two sons while they ate breakfast. All of a sudden, in the dark, someone started pounding on our door and frantically yelling for help. We quickly came to find one of our neighbors who rushed to tell us that our son had just gotten hurt badly on his bike. My wife and I quickly changed and took off.

We arrived to find many neighbors we didn't know circled around our son. He wasn't moving, his eyes were shut, and he was lying in a large pool of bright red blood. Needless to say, this was not a scene I was ever planning on seeing. Some neighbor ladies began consoling my wife as I knelt down and started talking to him. He responded immediately but didn't move or open his eyes. One of the neighbors had his right hand wrapped in a towel while applying pressure. They told me that the ambulance was on its way. I noticed a disturbingly deep laceration on his right knee that had gone unnoticed. Knowing we needed to act quickly, I talked to my wife and she quickly gained her composure and went to sit beside our son as I went home to change and get ready to ride with him in the ambulance. One of our neighbors took our younger boys to school and then my wife joined us at the hospital.

From 8am to 6:15pm that night we met many doctors, nurses, and hospital staff in fact we spent half the day at one hospital and the other half at a second one due to the severity of the wound on his knee. I won't go into the gross details of the day, but all-in-all he got 10 stitches on his right hand and 17 stitches on his right knee. The pain he endured between getting his wounds cleaned out, to countless pulling and pushing of the lacerations to the severe testing of his knee joint would make the toughest person squeamish. He was AMAZING.

As I've started reflecting on yesterday's events some lessons and insights have begun to surface. I'm going to share one in this entry and another in the following entry. Here goes:

When my son hit the pavement and saw that the back of his right hand was completely split open, he started screaming. Some of the surrounding neighbors came out of their homes and found him on the ground rapidly losing blood by the second. What's interesting is that they weren't the first to find him. At least one car saw him and drove right by. We only knew one of the neighbors that helped our son that day. We didn't know the man who found him. We didn't know the man who called 911. We didn't know the lady who brought out a blanket to cover him. We didn't know the man who stood in the middle of the road to warn oncoming traffic to be cautious and slow down. What compelled those people to help our son – a neighborhood boy they didn't even know?

Meeting new people can be a challenge at times. We typically establish new relationships with caution because we want to guard ourselves. I know when we moved into our community we didn't go to the 40-50 homes on our street and insist on door-to-door introductions. Did you? Highly unlikely. How weird would that have been? I find it intriguing how something mortally urgent, scary, or tragic can immediately tear down our walls and unite us. Do you remember the days, weeks, and months following 9/11?

So what is the difference? I think we get an idea when we start to try to understand the image we were created and crafted in. God ultimately wants what's best for us and desires to help us. The writings in the Bible talk about Him as our "rescuer" and how He is a "strong tower". My neighbors were rescuers and they worked to protect our son when we weren't there as if they were a strong tower. They heard him scream (which still haunts my thoughts and brings me to tears) and immediately responded. That desire to respond when someone is in need is not an accident but a real portion of us – our maker's fingerprints on our deepest parts.

Where have you had the chance to act and help someone in need? This is the time of year it seems everyone is asking for help. Many times we act like the car that didn't stop and make up excuse after excuse. But….inside of you and me is that small voice that tugs at your heart and tries to nudge you forward to act. Let's try listening to it and see where that action takes us. You want to change the world don't you? You were designed to respond. So what are you waiting for?