Falling Down While Crossing The Road
Today I was driving along VauxHall Road on the left lane, thinking I’d go straight. Suddenly, I pulled to the right lane to make the right turn. As I did, a red and black Mustang or Camaro or was a BMW like the one pictured – pulled up to the light in the opposite lane. I immediately said to myself, Uh oh, that’s a sign. Why? because the red and black grill and front fender or energy, quite frankly, reminded me of feline stealth, a trickster, the symbol for abrupt change. I thought it amusing and kept driving. This passed through my mind: Hmm, what is going to happen?
So I drove along and got to the street where I live, and before I made the left turn from the main road, an elderly man walking across abruptly fell down, with his package. He began to struggle to get up. He could not. This occurred just beyond my turn, so I pulled to the side after turning because my mind said, He needs help getting up. And he did. He was in the oncoming traffic lane and thankfully no cars were coming. He had time to get up and basically attempted to crawl. He threw the package, which looked like a huge floor pillow without its cover, toward the curb.
I began to get out of the car. So did the guy who had been driving behind me. He had pulled into a parking lot on the opposite corner. We both jumped out simultaneously.
Just then a woman in fatigues comes out of the Air Force office to help the guy. I yelled, You got him? She ignored or didn’t hear me. He’s still struggling and crawling; she offers a hand to help him. Now, the Air Force “store” HAS NO WINDOWS. I noticed that when I moved to town. Just big signs for you to join up. However, obviously, they can see out and we can’t see in. These were the thoughts in my head as I got back in my car and drove the two blocks home.
Falling Down On The Road
Of course this is going somewhere. Questions began to pop into my head —
Where else do I turn off my path in an instant, and what do I notice that alerts me something is about to happen? In this instance, it was the growling red and black race car (vibe).
Second question: Where have I fallen down on the road, on my road? On the path I’ve taken? OR, when have I fallen while crossing the road, jay-walking, with only a fluff of pillow to shield me if I fall?
Put another way, third question – When do I shield myself with nothing but some light-weight cushion; I don’t even fall on it, and it therefore can’t even break my fall because I haven’t the strength/stamina to make it so?
Fourth question: Why did the old man cross the road? Obviously, to get to the other side. Maybe also, to prove he could cross the road, get to the other side, take care of himself….
Finally, fifth question: How do I know this story, this event, is a signature one for my life? I’m still looking at that. I am not literally crossing the road in after-morning-rush-hour traffic, with only a pillow to shield me or break my fall. And yet, maybe I am striving to reach the another side, a safe side, where I can finally lay my pillow down….
Deeper looking: perhaps I have fallen down after the rush hour of my life. May I am crawling to the other side, taking time to stand slowly, tossing my shield pillow to the curb like the inadequate life line it may be, grateful that someone with Air Force — that is breath — is offering me a hand. Thanks, by the way, to all you breathers.
I am at the time in my life where I know I may have more in common with that man that I’d care to admit. He and she who has ears, please do hear. I will keep looking.
So now you. How are you protecting or projecting yourself, as you cross roads? Or at the crossroads in your life? As you step in new directions, as you jaywalk, are you certain you will get to the other side? You see or sense that nobody is coming to knock you down, but are you really ready to take that step, make those strides with assurance? Do you need or want to prepare yourself better if things don’t happen as you thought – if you fall down? Is it more important that you protect yourself, or that you get to the other side? Questions for no better time than now.
–Rev. Niamo Nancy