An Open Letter to the Unnamed Trucker on Amnicola Hwy Today

Dear Trucker in the Rain on Amnicola Hwy today –

I really feel like I need to have a word with you. In retrospect, I really should have turned my car around today and tracked you down. Had I done so, I probably couldn’t have been held responsible for my actions, though. You see, if you had pulled that truck over, parked, and stepped out, I likely would’ve tackled you right there on the spot. And then possibly laid a big kiss on you. Adrenaline’s like that. It sometimes causes your emotions to get all confused where you do inappropriate things. Or maybe that’s just me and my emotions. As it turns out, you were safe from being assaulted in this manner only because I was shaking so badly from head to toe, the only thing I could think to do was remain on auto-pilot and head back in the direction of my work.

You and I are one of a few select people who know what you did today. Yet, you’ll never receive a commendation for it. I’ll never even know your name. Heck, I don’t even know what kind of truck it was you were driving, besides a pretty one. Let me take that back. It may have been the most beautiful truck I’ve ever seen before in my life – which I still have today (my life, I mean), thanks to you.

As I was sitting there on Amnicola around 2:00, hemmed in by thick traffic at the stop light in the rain, I saw you in my side mirror as you pulled out of the fast lane and started to come up the wet turn lane. I didn’t think too much about it. But just before you came up beside me, something else caught my eye. A little white car came flying out across the two lanes of traffic from my side – and right into your path. As it darted out from behind the black SUV, an old memory flashed through my mind. I thought of a time I saw a German Shepherd dart across a few lanes of traffic when a small pick-up truck hit him. Emphasis on small truck and big dog. Nevertheless, I won’t describe what I saw happen to that dog; it’s too gruesome. I will say it made me cry hysterically for the next two hours. So it didn’t take too much imagination for me to realize that, when your big truck t-boned that little compact car today, I was about to see something much worse.

When you laid down on those brakes and your truck began to bounce, I knew you could see the worst of the possibilities too, despite the fact you were already jack-knifing while sliding down that lane. I sucked in a breath and held it, praying for you and whoever was in that little car, thinking there was no physical way you’d be able to stop in time. I could already hear and see the future debris flying. That’s when I realized there would be another consequence to your decision. That debris wasn’t going to come my way as quickly as your trailer, which was about to take out the entire driver’s side of my own little compact car. I believe I understand enough physics to know that, even after that, that trailer wouldn’t have stayed upright. I’m guessing it likely would’ve toppled onto me and/or the someone else in front of me. I really don’t know how you did the next thing you did, but I watched you pull your wheels the other direction and somehow straighten out your load – while still managing to avoid a certain death about to take place in front of you. Your truck may have bounced and skidded back and forth, but in a gentlemanly fashion, you made sure it kept all of its body parts to itself.

Sir, I commend you on your lightning-fast reflexes. I realize that the person in the little white car had absolutely zero chance of living beyond you stopping in time. I also realize that my only fighting chance would’ve been increased had I been able to get out of my seatbelt, climb over to the passenger side of my vehicle, and dive into the floorboard had that trailer continued coming my way. We both know that Mission Impossible scenario still has a lot of holes in it. Thank God your real reflexes were much faster than my make-believe ones could’ve ever been.

I also commend you on whatever expert driving skills those were that you displayed today. That being said, please don’t take offense to my next words. This event somehow reminded me of watching one of my boys when he was little, playing in the living room with his Tonka truck, picking it up and setting it down exactly in the spot he deemed it should be. You’ll have to forgive me if this example seems too simplistic for the actions you took, but from my point of view, it was like watching the hand of God reach down and do the same with you. I take comfort in that.

Most of all, I commend you on your heart of gold. It was obvious that you were aware of and concerned about not only yourself, but all of those around you on that road today. Because of your quick, alert and clear-headed actions, one or more of us went home to families who would’ve otherwise missed us this evening. When I told my teenage son our story, I can assure you that he expressed his gratitude to you. So please believe me when I tell you that – even though I may never know your name and even though you probably heard no gratitude beyond the gratefulness you had over the silence when you stopped – your actions didn’t go unnoticed. Today, I feel the need to let others know – you truly are my hero.

God bless you.

-jody

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

The  PHOTO CHALLENGE for this week is:

Half-Light

Share a photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story.

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I took this photo while in the Holy Land a few years ago with an early version pocket digital camera and added a little editing effect.

For my poetry, I’m selecting a couple of excerpts from Joseph Brodsky’s reflective piece, “I Sit by the Window.”

I sit by the window.
 And while I sit
my youth comes back.
 Sometimes I'd smile.
 Or spit.

I sit in the dark.
 And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

During a school screening in one of the villages after only a few days in South Sudan, I tried to soothe the children who waited, some a little uncertainly, as they sat upon benches to receive their wellness exams from the medical doctors. I only had so many words with which I could communicate in Juba Arabic, and I had already used most of those to take their arm and height measurements and get them to their seats; so I tried a universal language – song.

I understood that part of the reason for these children’s fears was because medical exams can be scary, even for adults. But these children also were not used to seeing “Khawaaja” – a word that technically means “foreigner” but they use for “white people” (who are recognizably foreign in the region of the very dark-skinned Southern Sudanese people). These children had displayed a realm of emotions about us being there – from open curiosity to unconcealed fear.

While sitting among these children, I began to sing “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” One of the teachers came up to the children with a big smile and assured them, “This is a good song.” In a world that sometimes acts otherwise, it’s one that has always comforted my heart. I wanted it to comfort theirs too.

This field trip into the bush also emphasized to me how very easy it is to love children, even when they do not/cannot always reciprocate that emotion. And that makes me understand how it must be so easy for Jesus to love us – because even when we are rejecting his love, or not reciprocating it, He still sees us as his children. We are precious in his sight.

Can you imagine the world in which we could live if we could all see one another through that same lens? What if we saw everyone through the lens that showed each person as a broken, hurting, fearful, precious child, in need of comfort and reassurance? Would we be so quick to dismiss others from our presence who weren’t like us, in any number of ways?

Amer, asfar, asuwed, abiyad,
We are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

So those are the thoughts that came to my mind when I read the Weekly Photo Challenge on One Love this week. And it caused me to take a little photo editing liberty to make my own “abiyad” as freakishly obvious in this portrait as it may sometimes appear to those little ones, while still portraying the contrasting oneness of a precious shared moment across the world.

Asuwed + Abiyad = One Love

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

Even though I’ve learned a little Juba Arabic for communication purposes in South Sudan, these little ones don’t speak either that or English. They speak Kakwa. Regardless, that didn’t keep us from our own universal communication –

Living, laughing, and loving harmoniously…

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(Nor did it keep me from learning to mingle the posho!)

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(In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge on Harmony)

Be a blessing & be blessed!

-jody

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

As I walked through the bush in an unforgiving heat during the end of the dry season in South Sudan this past week, the scorched brush bristled beneath my feet. Yet, I was reminded of how, even in the harshest of environments, beauty will always struggle to come forth and be seen.

Take notice around yourself today and see what hidden beauty can spring forth!

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This photo is in response to the DailyPost Weekly Photo Challenge on State of Mind.

Be blessed!

-jody

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

Clandestine garden meetings among young lovers has long been the stuff of which art is made – whether in an historical romance, or a drawing or painting throughout various periods in history.

$_35

Garden Gate etching found advertised on ebay

My Weekly Photo Challenge response is meant to capture that same enchanted spirit – perhaps not so covert, but with double the fun.

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