Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sometimes a Lie

I enter the church, sit on the pew and wrestle my kids for an hour.
If I'm lucky, I can sing a hymn uninterrupted.
That doesn't happen all that often.

I walk little man to primary.
I stand at the back because he constantly stares at me, afraid I'll leave.
Sister Stewart asks me how I'm doing.
I tell her I'm good, which is sometimes a lie.
Maybe more times than not.

I meander over to Sunday School.
Sister Johansen greets me with the warmest spirit you could ever imagine.
She asks me how I'm doing, and genuinely wants to know.
But I tell her I'm good, which is sometimes a lie.
I need to be better about that, but I really don't know how.

I quickly walk to Relief Society to get seated first.
I want to avoid the awkwardness of looking for a seat among perceived cliques.
Then, when people sit next to me, it's because they want to, not because they have to.
They, too, ask me how I'm doing.
I tell them I'm good, which is sometimes a lie.

Sometimes I feel lonely at church.
Even among the hustle and bustle of leaders, neighbors and friends.
Sometimes I wish people could see me.
I wish that I felt safe to share me.
The real me.

I'm active in church and in my callings.
I look outside myself for opportunities to serve.
I have faith.
I have hope.
I know God.
I know He knows me.

Yet, still... I struggle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Because We Are Good Samaritans

I don't pick up hitch hikers. I just don't.

See, I love serial killers. Or, rather, I love studying them. The criminal mind absolutely fascinates me. However, because of my obsession with psychopaths and sociopaths (which are now referred to as having antisocial disorders), I usually think the worst of people.

If I see you in a dark alley, you are a killer.
If you follow me for too long in a car, you are a killer.
If you are parked by yourself in a parking lot, you are a killer.

You get the idea. I just get paranoid. And for that reason, I don't pick up hitch hikers.

Until two days ago, when I broke my own rule.

My older two boys are in Texas with grandma, so Tim and I decided to pile in the car with the youngest and the dog, and take the hour and a half long trip to Arches National Park. We'd never been before and were really excited for our spontaneous adventure.

The drive was beautiful. The sun was shining, the weather was clear, and the air warm. Life was good. For us, anyway. For on the other side of the road, we passed at least three drivers stranded with bum vehicles. It was about the time we passed the third driver that I heard the nudge.

You need to help someone on the side of the road on the way back.

And before I could stop myself, I let the idea settle in and I quickly reiterated it, out loud, to Tim; "If we run into anyone on the way back that needs help, I think we should stop and help them."

He nodded and agreed.

We made it to Arches in no time, toured the park, got out, hiked a bit, took lots of pictures, ate some snacks on a giant rock, watered the dog, and got back on the road about 7:30.

We'd made it about 5 miles past Moab when we saw her.
Yes, her.
A woman.


"Oh my gosh!! That's a woman hitchhiking! We have to stop!"

And I started to pull over.

But see, Tim is a good man. And, because he loves me, he watches my murder shows with me sometimes, and listens to all the fascinating things I learn about the criminal mind. And, as a result, it has left him somewhat damaged and scarred  paranoid as well.

So he countered my freak out with a bit of a freak out of his own...

"No!! I don't want to pick anyone up! What if they're a murderer!"

"But she's a woman!"

Our banter went back and forth for another 15 miles or so. I wouldn't say we argued or fought about it, but I can say we were both very set in the way we felt. I do want to mention that even though I was adamant about picking her up, I still had empathy for the way Tim felt. It's his job to protect his family, and we did have the little man with us. So even though I felt strongly about stopping, there was still significant risk involved.

We drove on for a bit, tension in the air. Thoughts began to fill my mind, and so I asked, somewhat rhetorically, but mostly not; "Are we good Samaritans? Do we just pass by the person on the road that needs help, or do we stop and give aid?"

The car was quiet for a bit as the miles piled behind us, and then the silence broke; "Turn around, go pick her up."... "Are you sure?" ... "Yes, just do it."

And so I did.

Meet Hue...

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And the facebook post I published on facebook, just in case.

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(And yes I spelled her name incorrectly in the Facebook post)

But, she wasn't a killer...

In fact, The first thing she asked for was water.
She was just thirsty.
And hungry.
So we stopped and got her some food.
Because we are good Samaritans.

And then we started to think ahead, to her destination. She had been hitchhiking all the way from Arizona, and her final destination was to reach some of her cousins in Salt Lake City. We, of course, were only going as far as Price, two hours short of Salt Lake.

Which meant, of course, that she'd have to hitchhike through the canyon.
At night.
In the dark.
With the killers.

I couldn't.
I couldn't let her.
So, I didn't.

When we got to Price, we filled the gas tank, dropped Tim and little man off at home, and I drove her to Salt Lake.

Here is the truly special part. She told me that just prior to picking her up, a Sheriff's officer had stopped to talk to her. He gave her some water, but wasn't allowed to give her a ride. So she kept walking. Desparate, she began to pray; "Please God, help me. Please send someone to help me. I really need help." And it was at that very moment that we pulled up.

God knew she was going to need help.
God knew that we were going to be there to help.
God asked us to help.
So we did.
Because we are good Samaritans.

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"