Encountering Humanity on 5th and 2nd
Yesterday, I left my house, mask-less, at the exact, right time.
As I turned the corner, I saw a lady, mask-less, on the side of the road, her car nearly vertical in the ditch. The wheels on the road side, were hardly touching the ground. Had the ditch been two inches deeper, she would have flipped. I pulled off to check on her. She was frantic and shaking.
We had some beautiful and profound moments of conversation that brought peace and then we called for a tow truck. It would arrive in forty-five minutes.
Right then, a big, mask-less, burly-man in a redneck, camo-painted pick-up truck, stopped.
“You need help?”
She was about to tell him we were fine, and I said, “Can you get her car out of the ditch?”
“Yes, ma’am.” He said.
He parked and then there were three of us…
Just when I was wishing we had another man to help him, this old, tough-looking white man, proudly wearing a USA mask, walks out of his house. He yells, “You need help?”
As he started walking toward us both men burst out laughing and gave each other a hardy-hug. Apparently, the old man coached the red-neck-truck-driving man in high school, and this little mishap enabled a fine reunion.
After their greeting, the older white man looks at the woman and says, “Don’t you worry. This is easy. You won’t even have a scratch, darlin’.”
And then there were four of us…
Wait, it gets weirder.
The two of them are working together to get her car out, while I’m out on the road directing traffic. One of them asks her to get in the nearly vertical car to steer the wheels. She is so shaken up and I can see her trying to muster the courage to get back in. I was just thinking about doing it for her, although I was nervous too, when I look up to see this older black man, wearing a mask, walking down the street. He literally appeared out of nowhere, “Y’all need help?”
Then he and the old white man start laughing and hugging.
Apparently, he knew the old white man, as he was a middle school coach!
Then there were five of us…
What the heck?
He jumps in the car to steer it so she doesn’t have to. I’m almost crying at this point, at the beauty and kindness brought together in this eclectic, random bunch. No one was upset by racial division or masks!
Anyway, they get the car out with ease, no scratch on it, and the five of us are instantly bonded. The woman thanks the men and they all leave. I was getting ready to leave too, when she asked me if she could hug me again, for a fourth time, “Are you an angel?”
I laughed and then realized she was serious. I laughed harder and pointed to my house. “No, no. I live there.”
“How did you get all those men to stop and help me, then? That’s crazy?” She was emotional.
“God did that for you. He loves you, isn’t it obvious? And He loves undoing our stereotypes through powerful interactions like this, too.”
We both laughed, because truly, we were both thinking it.
We chatted a few minutes more when she declared she may just show up at my door someday to be sure about the angel thing. I told her I live for good stories that just continue and would keep my coffee pot, and wings, ready.
Masks, no masks, a black woman, a middle-aged white woman, a red neck, an old white man, and a black man met up yesterday on the corner of 5th and 2nd to work together for the good of humanity!
What an awesome day!
Shout out to all you coaches and good men out there, your chivalry makes you shine! Thank you!
Aimee Perry, a singer/songwriter, and entrepreneur who presently resides in Charlotte NC. She has written music, poetry, blogs, stories, and children’s songs. One common thread running through her work is her ability to articulate matters of the heart in a way that leaves the reader with more understanding of their own humanity, and the joy of living loved. Made To Create YouTube Channel
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Love love love this story. These are God stories. They could happen more often if we would let go….
Thank you for the story of God being a part throughout of it all. I have one question/concern though and this is why you chose to leave your house without a mask – “Yesterday, I left my house, mask less, at the exact, right time.” I am unsure why that is a positive? Mask less at the right time – unsure how this works into your story of God?
Again, I really enjoy the emails and the readings, podcasts from you guys so it is not my intention to detract from the story, I just want to understand how going mask less and interacting with other mask less people in the story, is a good thing? Over 200,000 people in the US have dies from Covid and is facing a second wave because people don’t wear masks…
“No one was upset by racial division or masks!” I am confused about this too, why the lack of masks is a good thing? I struggle to see God giving this a thumbs up, he gives us wisdom even if we don’t accept it. There is a virus that kills people and it is very very real.
Thank you John for your thoughtful comments. I understand the concern. I could have left all the adjectives out of this story, (maskless, white, redneck, black, old…etc…) and yet the kindness would have remained. I added them to prove powerful, human connections are still possible, and kindness holds up a higher
standard, when we come together despite our different views. It was a rich lesson for me personally. My hope in sharing it, was that the takeaway would be bigger than the adjectives.
But, if it’s difficult to see past that, and if it helps, I had a mask in my car for the grocery story I was heading to. I don’t wear it when I drive and I wasn’t thinking about masks when I stopped and got out. I wasn’t thinking about her not wearing one, or the men that came to help. In that moment, none of us were and I found that to be a beautiful thing. If we had that at the forefront, the story may have gone differently.
I do apologise for what it seems to be a definite misunderstanding from me and in how you wrote around the subject of masks.
Firstly, I in no way was doubting your integrity or love and passion that you so obviously have for humanity. You have an empathetic heart and one they is needed more in more, especially in three Covid times.
It did seem that I had missed out on the topic of how God used everyone on that corner of 5th and 2nd, by focusing on masks but I had not. I can see how it would look like this.
I definitely must have misunderstood you in regards to wearing or not wearing masks, to which I apologise. I can see your heart in your reply.
I am just so aware of this virus, seen how it takes loved ones from people I know and the fallout from that. So please forgive me for that, it is just a very impactful and painful topic for me.
Praying alongside you, believing for health, BIG LOVE, peace, wisdom and sweetness to overturn it all. God bless you and yours! Thank you for this meaningful conversation and your gracious words.
Hey John, I love Aimee’s response. I’ll add my own.
Personally, the “no masks” element of this story was beautiful to me. Why, because I wear a mask but some people don’t. As Aimee noted, she wears a mask. But not everyone thinks the same way we do. And that’s OK.
Whether it’s about race, how the virus has been handled, politics, theology, on and on, there are vastly different views on these things in our nation today.
To me, this story reveals how people are more important than our comfort, or our scientific or theological beliefs.
There’s a story in the Bible where Jesus touched a leper and the leper was made clean. I love that story and I see some of it in this one. That’s what love does. Love steps fearlessly inside the hurting person’s experience and releases peace and healing. I believe we need Christians who are growing so confident in love that fear doesn’t get a say in how they navigate a stranded maskless person.
And I understand we may disagree on this, and that’s OK. For me, that’s one of the takeaways from this story. Disagreement won’t define our humanity. Right now our nation is torn apart by masks and race, and in this story, neither of those issues got in the way of neighbors helping someone in need.
To me, that’s beautiful.
One last thought, if it were you on the side of the road, knowing my sister, she would have worn her mask. Why, because it matters to you. My sister is fearless in love. She is the girl that holds an orphan child who was riddled with head lice because her goal is always to make the person she is with know he or she is loved. She would want you to feel safe and loved.
Bless ya man!
I really appreciate your candor and your helpful insight that was quite inspiring to me and my reaction to Aimee’s email. As in my reply to her message, I was not questioning her integrity although it may have seemed like that. To this, I have apologised. Your description of her is definitely one that comes across to me.
I did focus more on the mask topic than the empathetic story that I definitely misunderstood what she meant re masks etc. I have seen how Covid destroys lives, how it impacts people I know and I think I came across based more on my emotions.
“Right now our nation is torn apart by masks and race, and in this story, neither of those issues got in the way of neighbors helping someone in need.”
Appreciate your response, John! I understand the concern and very real impact of COVID. Appreciate your thoughts and generous interaction!
Praying grace and wholeness and life over you and yours tonight!