I’ve been struggling lately. There has been a series of disturbing events happening in my life. First, we had a terrifying wandering incident with one of our children – something I never thought would happen to us, in spite of all the statistics about how many autistic children wander. Then there was a tragic shooting in my area and the victims were old friends of mine. Then a close friend lost her son to an unexpected drug overdose. I have also been watching a loved one struggling with alcoholism. I’ve felt so incredibly powerless through all of this. Things are just HAPPENING all around me and I have no control over any of it. No way to help the people who are hurting. I’ve felt like my hands are just tied.
This morning, while driving Juliette to therapy, I was heading down a busy street and witnessed a domestic altercation between a man and a woman. He was BEATING her, in their driveway, in broad daylight at 8:00 in the morning. I watched as the tall, brawny man pushed the petite woman so hard that she flew across the driveway and lost her footing. I locked eyes with her. She was terrified. Her eyes were pleading me to help.
I called the police. I had to circle back down the street in order to give them the house number. I saw the woman, still in the driveway, digging around in the trunk of her vehicle, and the man nowhere to be seen. I turned around again, and headed toward Juliette’s therapy center, my shaky hands gripping the steering wheel. Juliette asked me why I had called the police, and I turned it into a teaching moment, telling her that police officers are “helpers” and they would send someone to make sure the woman was ok. Luckily, she had not actually seen the physical fighting and assumed the people were just arguing, so my stammered explanation seemed to suffice.
I brought her to school. It was field trip day, so she was extremely excited. I was still kind of in shock due to what I had just witnessed. I drove back toward my home, and when I went past that house again, there were two police cars parked out front. Thank goodness!
A few minutes later, a police officer called me and asked me to recount precisely what had happened so they could make an official report. They said that the woman’s story coincided with what I was reporting, but the man had a different version of the story. My only question was, “is she ok?” He said she was.
At this point in my life, I don’t know if I believe in God, and I don’t believe in fate, but I do find that things tend to happen for a reason. Why was I the one to bring Juliette to school that day? Usually it is always Jacob, and had it been him, they would have been on the road much earlier (since he is never late like I am), and he likely would not have seen what I saw. So why did everything fall into place in precisely the correct manner for me to witness this?
So I could feel like I have worth. So I could realize that I can make some small difference, to someone, anyone. I am not powerless over everything in life.
I am powerful.
I CAN help.