"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kind People in Red Shirts

We recently started going back to church, after many many logical, sensible, well-thought-out reasons excuses kept us away for many months. I really love this church. And I've realized that it's not because of the great music or the pretty campus or even the inspiring messages. It's not because I leave feeling all warm and fuzzy every Sunday. All that is nice and everything, but it's really of little importance how it makes me feel. The reason I love it is that it's full of people who, by and large, are committed to going out and BEING the church... people who are kind and giving and have servant hearts. Not just on Sundays, not just because they feel like they have to, but because they want to.

This past Saturday, we joined a group of other members from our neighborhood for a service project. Our assignment was to clean out a large planter at the local elementary school, to get it ready for a future sustainable work of art. The kids were very excited to be able to do their part to help, and all six of us were warmly welcomed by the group (none of whom we'd met before) when we got started.

Ironically, shortly into our morning of service, we were the ones getting served. We'd only been there for around half and hour when Spencer misjudged a step, lost his footing and fell from the side of the planter, scraping his legs in the process. At first he answered with a quick affirmative to all the concerned "Are you okay?"s, but eventually accepted an offer to at least sit and get some cool water on his scrapes. As the adrenaline - and the 100+ degree heat - started catching up with him, he grew paler and paler.

"Are you sure you're okay?" I asked, which garnered the attention of another kind samaritan from the group. He took one look at Spencer's face, which was still losing color, and said we needed to get him inside under some air conditioning. He helped us inside the school, holding cold bottled water against his neck. (He explained as we went that holding it on the carotid artery would cool the body. Later on, Spencer told me that he enjoyed that bit of information, as he is very familiar with the term from watching all his medical shows)

He stood and chatted with us inside the school's office, while Spencer sipped cold water and tried to cool off. He was starting to look a little green, and finally admitted he was feeling nauseous and light-headed. Our rescuer disappeared then, and returned about 30 seconds later with a big dripping wet something that he draped around Spencer's head and neck (which helped almost instantly.) The man had literally taken the shirt off his back and soaked it in cold water to come to the aid of an overheated kid he'd just met. And all I could do was say thank you.

Thank you kind man for making sure my son did not pass out. Thank you half a dozen people who asked, more than once, if he was feeling better.

Thank you for the friendly conversation, and for treating our kids like the interesting, unique people that they are.

Thank you stranger who let my 3 and 7 year old help paint the Arizona map, and made them feel special and important, and didn't once complain about drips or unevenness.

Thank you red shirted people, for welcoming us into your fold, helping us serve the community, and helping each other serve US. Thank you for your unexpected ability, in the short span of two hours, to completely restore my faith in humanity.

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