A man was traveling one winter night when he came upon a car that had pulled over onto the snowy shoulder and became “stuck on top of the ground.” There was just enough frozen slush, ice, and snow the car was unable to move; the tires would just spin.
The man was going through a rough patch in his life, and he was in fact on his way to a new job. The old truck he was driving was the only thing he owned besides his clothes and few other personal items.
One thing he didn’t have was a chain or tow rope.
The car was driven by a woman traveling with her daughter, and they were standing by the car when he came along. There was an intersection there, and he pulled off the highway onto the blacktop street that went into the small town about 1/4 mile away. If you approached the highway coming from the town on the blacktop street, there was a rise, a slope, up to the highway.
The area in the corner of those roads was sloped gently in both directions, away from the highway and up to the blacktop edge. The snow wasn’t deep, maybe 2 inches, just enough to cover the grass.
The man surveyed the situation, and determined if he drove the car off the shoulder to the right, down the slope, he could gain enough momentum to go up the slope and onto the blacktop road where it leveled out. He walked the grass and the slopes and checked carefully; there was no ditch. Smooth sailing so to speak.
He explained to the woman he didn’t have a tow rope, and he told her what he was going to do. The look on her face wasn’t encouraging, but she was stuck anyway, so she said go ahead.
He got into the car, put it in gear, and turned the wheel to the right. Down the slope he went, gaining speed, and easily made it up the smaller slope onto the dry blacktop street. He pulled it around to the stop sign at the highway, and got out.
The woman grabbed him in a bear hug and couldn’t say thank you enough times. She offered to pay him something, but he refused, besides he had an idea this woman and her daughter were going through a rough patch themselves. The look of relief (and a little disbelief he actually did it) and the genuine gratitude she expressed was more than enough pay.
They never saw each other again. They didn’t exchange names or any other information; they focused on the problem, one needing help, the other willing to help.
I’m reminded of the Bible verse that says don’t grow weary in doing good, at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. (Galatians 6)
1 John 3 says let us not love in words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Sometimes the harvest comes knowing you were able to help and seeing an outcome. And it’s more than satisfaction; it’s spirit-affirming, soul-expanding, actions directed toward others in their time of need without expecting anything in return other than a thank you. But even that isn’t necessary, nor should it be required by us from those we help.
At some point in our lives, we all need help from another human being.
We’re all in this together. Forever.