‘For I was hungry, and you fed me’

 
Column by Krysti Mayer
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It was a surprisingly quiet drive home as my boys and I were leaving soccer practice. The car in front suddenly slammed on his brakes, and as I gazed out of my windshield to see what caused our sudden stop, I saw a young boy jump another boy, throwing punches in the street.

As he attacked the other boy, he had managed to push him into oncoming traffic, and the car in front of me was inches from hitting him. What happened next was more disturbing to me than the initial attack, because the man in the car in front of me decided to carefully go around the bloodied boy in the street and drove away.

I quickly pulled over and stepped out of my car. The boy had a bone sticking out of his cheek and eyes the size of golf balls. He was half-conscious, and all I could think about doing at that point was to peel him off the road and drive him to the emergency room.

He sat in the passenger seat, bleeding, my two boys were wide-eyed and frightened, and I was trying to find out where he lived and where were his parents.

I can remember as a little girl watching Mr. Rogers on TV. On one show, he explained that sometimes the evening news our parents watch can be scary, so we should always look at the people who are helping when something bad happens.

I thought of Mr. Rogers watching the recent tragedy in Haiti. I have seen quite a few world tragedies in my life, and there has always been an outpouring of support from people all over. I have also seen tragedies in the everyday lives of the people in my community, which have been met as well with support on a smaller scale. And I am always in disbelief when people try to explain why these tragedies occur. Pat Robertson claimed that Haiti’s earthquake was God’s anger towards their evil ways. Even my cancer was explained by an ex-friend as the result of something “bad I must have done in my life.”

We live on an ever-changing planet, and most of us are not going to escape a natural disaster or disease in our lifetime. Explaining why “God allows such things to happen” should not be on anyone’s agenda. The real issue should be what we are going to do about it. I guess, if you believe in God and follow his commandments, this world would be a pretty perfect place. The fact that we do kill, steal, lie, cheat and dishonor our fellow man and this Earth means that we must live with the consequences.

But there is something in all of us that we tend to ignore. We all have a sense of humanity. I don’t believe that God is this great puppeteer in the sky pulling the strings for those who have the most faith. I do believe that we are created with reason, an ability to show sympathy for others and the humanity to do what is right by our fellow man. Humanity is the real miracle of Jesus. It wasn’t that the loaves and fishes magically fed 5,000 people, rather it was the miracle of sharing. Jesus, among others, such as Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., taught us to share and to care for the “least of these.”

We cannot explain why bad things happen on this Earth, and if we try, we lose the ability to look at what the bad teaches us. The tragedy is not the “wrath of God,” rather, it is the apathy that sits on our shoulder every once in awhile when we decide not to get involved or be bothered by a bloodied boy in the road.

I often think of that man who drove away and the gratefulness of that boy’s mother who called me the next day. Through garbled tears, she thanked me for helping her son. There was no need for thanks. I considered it my duty as a fellow human being, and hope that they will do the same for someone else.

What if it had been one of my sons lying in that road? I shudder to think that we live in a world of people who just “pass by.” If you believe in God, believe that He doesn’t dish out pain and death to His people. Believe in compassion and understanding and a hope in a basic humanity that lives within us and makes this world a better place.

  

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