Tuesday, September 13, 2005


As I was driving through the neighborhood directly next to Gracie's school, I glanced to the right while turning left. I saw a lady quite a ways down the street walking & carrying grocery bags. I thought to myself that I should stop & offer to drive her home. I went down some other streets because I was trying to find a house that some people from church had just moved into. By the time I got back to my street, I met up with this same lady again. Again, I thought that I should offer to drive her home.

I've seen this lady many times walking towards the school. She had a granddaughter at Gracie's school. She has always been very sweet although she seems a little "rough" around the edges. Not rough like she was ever rude....just not the "type" of person I would normally hang out with. For example, I don't think I've ever seen her with real shoes on....it's always slippers. One time, she lifted her arm and....well, let's just say....maybe she ran out of razors. She usually has these tiny puppies with her that she would show to Katie when we were picking up Gracie. Like I said, she was always very sweet but just somewhat rough.

Anyway, I couldn't completely avoid her without seeming rude, and I didn't want to be rude, so when I got out of the car in the driveway, I waved and said hi. She said hi and asked how I was. I asked how she was. She sighed and said, "tired." Then she proceeds to walk across my yard towards us and tell me about how she had to take her husband to the hospital and they said he had the flu but she doesn't think so and they sent him home.

I'm feeling bad and still thinking I should get back in my car and offer to take her home. She had Kroger bags in her hand and although Kroger is close if you're driving, it's still quite a hike if you're walking.....especially with bags in your hand.

I told her that we'll probably see her that afternoon at school, but she says that her daughter and granddaughter have moved. She then starts to tell me how her husband is depressed and he thinks they moved because of him and his mom gave him up for adoption when he was 3 and his mom & brother and sisters don't come visit him. All this just because I said, "how are you?"

As she was leaving, I told her I hoped her husband would feel better, and she said, "Thank you for asking."


These are the things I'm asking myself right now:
  • How many times do I simply ask "How are you?" without really wanting an answer?
  • Should I have offered her a ride home?
  • Would that have compromised the safety of myself & Katie since I don't really know her?
  • How do you balance the safety of yourself & your children with wanting to help people in a situation like this?
  • Is it unChristian of me to think that she's "rough" based on the things I mentioned?
  • Why am I not more grateful for the things I have because compared to this lady, I probably have alot?


Update on "See You at the Pole."

Well, yesterday I had sent a note to the teacher & aide asking if they knew anything about SYATP. I was disappointed in the reply I got. So disappointed that I didn't even post about it because I wanted to wait until I had better news to report.

The initial response I got was simply, "no. Dr. B said we cannot do this." That was it. (I think it was the aide who wrote it because I know it wasn't Miss S's handwriting. )

Anway, my first response was to march into the office and start telling them that I know my legal rights. However, thankfully God held me down from doing that and I drove away from the school....talking to myself aloud the whole time of course. (My children are so used to me doing this!)

So, I called my friend Kate who teaches at a local high school and got her suggestions and listened to her telling me that yes, this could be done as a student led activity. I also called Chris, of course. I was going to call the principal but I was so nervous about that and wasn't sure what to say. I felt I needed to think about it longer and pray about it, too.

I decided to call the secretary at the local middle school. She goes to our church and is a wonderful Christian. She confirmed for me that the students at the middle school do participate in this and then proceeded to tell me to call the asst. principal (Mr. D) and talk to him. Again, I thought about it then decided to wait some more. I was really rather emotional at this point and didn't want to come across as silly or rude.

I emailed the parent of another student in Gracie's class who I know goes to church and we've become friends. She emailed back and said that she was familiar with SYATP and had participated in high school. She also said she knew Mr. D and would talk to him if I wanted her to.

Well, Chris ended up calling Mr. D this morning. I thought it might come over better coming from a man (is that silly or what?-really I'm just a wimp!) and Chris had personally met him last week at the MENtor breakfast also. So, Mr. D called Chris back and said it was fine for us to do this! We knew it was but felt it was a courtesy to inform him that we were going to do this. Mr. D also said he would tell the principal about it. (*whew*) I was a little nervous about that part since she initially said no. I really think that she thought I was asking for this to be a school led activity or done as a whole class. Certainly, I know a public school won't do this (unfortunately!)

Mr. D gave some suggestions on what time we should do it and when we had to be through. He also said he would be out there with us if he could but his hands are tied.

So, it looks like "See You at the Pole" at Gracie's school is set! Now we just have to let other people know about it. I've already contacted one lady from church who has a child at the school and there are a couple of other parents I plan to talk to. Word of mouth is the name of the game.

Here's what I'm thinking about this situation:

  • If the administation had refused to allow this, would it have been right to push it? Like WAFJ's website says, "The goal of SYATP is to pray to God, not fight with man." So, should we have "fought" over it? Anyway, it didn't come to that, thankfully.
  • I'm so glad for the way God answers prayer! I had prayed that God would give me some kind of sign that this whole public school situtaion was okay because I was really disappointed yesterday. Less than an hour later, Chris tells me that Mr. D will support us in this!
  • How can I get word out about this?
  • I need to pray about this alot for the next week. I want this to be a positive experience for everyone! I don't want it to come across as us being these "freaks" who will throw legal jargon in the administrations' faces if they oppose us. I want it to come across as a group of Christians who love God and want to pray for the students & faculty.


Any thoughts or comments for me? I could use some suggestions on some of these things.


Alissa said...

Hey there. Don't really have much info or comments about SYATP, seeing as how I never was able to do it in HS and don't know much about how to contact people. I am sure that if you let some of the mom's that you know attend local churches know about it, then they will maybe be able to announce it in their churches or something like that. That way you have a descent turn out and it shows the kids that they aren't the only Christians in the school...there are others there that will be a support system for them if they need it.

On the other subject. Adam doesn't like me to pick up people, however, I have been known to do it. I have picked up children and the occasional woman. I don't do it much just because I have the children with me so often. He does stop to give people rides when he is out by himself, so at least one of us does it. I do like to stop and roll my window down and ask if they need me to call someone (usually do this when it is obviously someone broken down on the side of the road.) I usually have my cell phone, so it makes it easy for me to offer this help. I always feel like if it were me, then I would at least want that curtesy extended to me, so I try to do at least that.

Seeing as how you know she lives pretty close and she is obviously not some little old lady waiting with her posse to jump you after you stop to talk to her, I think if you feel drawn to help then you should...and not be worried about it. Seeing as how she talked and talked to you when you asked how she was, it seems that she is probably lonely and worried and just needed someone to air her feelings to. It probably made her day to know that someone asked how she was...and the good it did isn't discounted because you weren't asking with the intent to know "really". I think we all fall into this place where we ask things out of habit with no intention of really knowing the answer and then I think are a little bit thrown when we realize that we really didn't care to know. I will find myself praying that my heart will be softened in these situations.

Malia said...

Wow. I have so much to say but I don't want to ramble on and on.

That's a tough situation to be in. I have given a ride to an older woman in a very similar situation before (walking home with groceries in hand). However, she solicited me for the ride and she really put me in a bad place since she knew I had a child with me. What could I do? It's like she saw the mental battle I was having. Refuse her request and then have to deal with explaining to my child why we didn't help the poor old lady out OR agree to her request and potentially put myself and child in danger? I agreed, it turned out fine, never saw the woman again, was glad to have helped but also perplexed about whether of not I really should have done it.

We are to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. Christ lives through us but we have these filters from our culture that we have to work through. Filters that tell us that it's unsafe and enabling.

We are also so bad at making assumptions about people based on how they look. I do this ALL the time and I don't like it.

And then there's the SYATP thing. We want to make a statement about who we are in this world but we can't bring ourselves to give a ride to someone who needs it. Jacinda, please don't feel like I'm lecturing you and or judging you here because I'm not. I struggle with the exact same things so this is kind of an out loud thinking about how we deal with situations.

I think we need to be bold and to trust. Be bold by showing who we are in public ways like SYATP and in private ways like helping people out. And to trust that when we are the hands and feet of Christ in this world that we will be blessed by it.