It was a pain. And I was stuck in the middle of it.The situation was not ideal. People were getting fed up and turning around – leaving the situation in their rear view mirror. How would you feel?
Saturday, my wife and I headed to Glasgow (Virginia, not Scotland) and then on up to Natural Bridge. I saw the issue before I physically came upon it. Emergency lights were seen from afar. Right about where the mountain road crossed the Appalachian Trail, there was a back up. Being a two lane winding road, with a rock wall on one side and a tree filled drop off to the James River on the other, there were very little options. So we slowed down to a stop. Turned the engine off. Waited.
Some tired of the situation and turned around. Three point turns? Hah, more like nine point turns to maneuver through a 180 degree turnaround. Eventually traffic moved again.
Was it a rock slide, not uncommon? A wreck, since ice patches were still at certain spots? A car hitting a deer? We weren’t sure. But by the time we got there … scores of emergency vehicles, from multi-county, state police vehicles and a state police helicopter, SAR boats, and probably a hundred people all around. This was much more than a deer or rock slide incident.
A hiker had fallen 200 feet from a trail edge. He was not hiking alone, so that’s good. But in the process of everything, another hiker got lost. This issue is still unclear by the news reports I’m reading, but the rescue took a while and involved many to bring it to a conclusion. They had to helicopter one of the hikers off the mountain, and they had to ice hack another one to get out of the situation they were in. Both survived and are in a hospital for now.
And I had to wait in a traffic stop for about 15 minutes … woe is me.
15 minutes. What an inconvenience. Was that too hard? Should I fuss? I mean, they could’ve worked a little better to keep traffic flowing. Why should one person’s mishap cause me to be delayed, infringe upon my happiness. He made his choice, let him reap what he sowed. (And many of the comments on the news articles echo this mindset.)
Don’t read too much into that last paragraph. It was not me, but it is what could’ve been me. And yet, sometimes it is me. How often do each of us get perturbed because other people disturb our little world? How often do we get upset because we have to stop what we want to do to help others that are hurting and suffering from consequences that are often because of their own foolish decisions?
Church members upset that the sermon went 10 minutes too long? Shoppers mad because they have to park a little further out? Drivers upset at the person in front of them is going 3 miles under the speed limit? Fussing that Amazon can’t do overnight delivery on the item you can’t live without – like that new pair of socks with nonslip bottoms on them? Disgruntled at the restaurant because the mother at the next table can’t get the baby to stop fussing or crying? Or mad that it’s taking too long to get your food?
All of these are things I’ve faced (from both sides of the issues) and I’ve often responded less than stellar.
Patience is tough. And we are often impatient at others being impatient. And so is the cycle of life. But when it comes to rescuing someone, may we all be a little better in our response.
Instead of fussing … pray for first responders.
Instead of complaining … pray for the person needing rescue.
Instead of bickering … remember one day, you may need rescuing and be glad people will take the effort to help you.
We made it through the traffic, we saw the splendor of Natural Bridge, and we made it home. I hope the hikers make it home soon too.