Knowing Our Limits

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Before we went to church last night, I thought about what I would write for this morning’s post. My plan was to tell you about the little 911 adventure we had on Saturday night; but before we got home from church last night, we had another one.

First, I’ll give you some geographical context. When Ray and I make the short drive from town to our house at sunset, we cross over the river near our house and see views like this one we saw not long ago.

After crossing the bridge, we soon come to the section of our narrow road where a hill rises up on our left side and the river flows beside us on the right (as seen in this photo I took one fall).

Very soon we round a curve . . .

. . . and head into the valley that surrounds our home.

Rain was falling pretty heavily when we left church last night, but we weren’t expecting to see this on our way home!

After we slowly backed up our car to a not-so-near driveway, we headed back to town. We could have taken the long way to get to our house another way, but we were afraid that way might be blocked, too. We called 911, but learned that several trees were down in the county and only one work crew was available to clear trees. We were on our own. We puzzled a little and then decided to call our son-in-law, who offered to come and clear the tree out of our way.

We sat in our car in the Dollar General parking lot until our son-in-law gave us the “all clear.” He called, saying that when he arrived, a neighbor was already working on the not one, but three trees, that had fallen on our road and that we were now clear to go home. We were grateful to be safely home after a delay of only a little more than an hour.

During our Saturday night 911 incident, we had our turn at being the helpers. Ray and I were enjoying an outing in town with our nine-year-old grandson when we realized we had left something at home that we needed. As we drove between the river and the hillside near our house, we noticed a group of kayaks clumped together in the middle of the river.

We grabbed what we needed at home and headed back to town. As we neared the place where we had seen the kayaks, we saw two teenage boys with their thumbs sticking up, hitching a ride. We felt sorry for them but didn’t feel comfortable picking them up, especially since our young grandson was with us, and passed them by. Still, we didn’t want to leave them stranded.

We drove to the next driveway, turned around, went back, and stopped beside them. They told us that they had gotten tired while kayaking and wanted a ride to their car. We told them that we weren’t comfortable driving them but that we would call 911. I asked them if they had life jackets. They said they did and I told them that if they were tired, they definitely needed to put them on if they got back in the water.

We headed back toward our house and turned around in our neighbor’s driveway. When we got close to the boys this time, another boy had joined them. By the time we got to them, a fourth boy had walked up.

We stopped again. One of the new boys told us: “We got afraid.” We told them to wait where they were, and we would get them help. I also told them that I had some motherly advice. I told them to wait and that if they got into the water, they must wear their life jackets. I made them assure me that they would do that.

Ray and I were able to call 911 and gain assurance that someone would come to help them.

Later, I thought about the bravery of those four teen boys. They were willing to admit they were tired and that they were afraid. Many boys and men would not have been willing to recognize they needed help. The results could have been disastrous.

Those boys needed our help on Saturday evening; Ray and I needed help on Sunday evening. God simply made us humans that way. We are all dependent on other people. Some of us are willing to admit it; others are not. We must teach children to ask for help, and we adults must be good examples of asking for help ourselves.

Parents know what it is like to live with a two-year-old who shouts, “I do it myself!!” Children do need to learn to do things themselves; they also need to be willing to ask for help and to accept that help. That two-year-old characteristic doesn’t look nearly as cute in an adult.

. . . all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,
for God is opposed to the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5b




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