This past weekend was one of the craziest, busiest weekends my husband and I have had at home in a long time. If we happen to be traveling somewhere, I expect weekends to be busy and full. Usually, though, when we are home, we have a few hours’ worth of errands to run on Saturdays and the usual busyness of Sundays. This went way beyond those parameters. None of it was bad; in fact, I would say all the things that were on our list of places to be and things to get done were good–they were just all piled together.
Friday nights are the one night I can usually count on the two of us being home. My hubs is seldom gone for work on Friday nights. Occasionally, in the last month, he has arrived back in town on a very late flight, making him technically gone on Friday night, but that has only happened two or three times in the last ten years. We have no other commitments on Friday nights anymore since we have changed the church small group with which we meet. This past Friday, though, we had a marriage night we had signed up to attend with our church. I admit to not really wanting to attend this. With all our marriage has been through (if you don’t know that story, scroll through the archives from last year about this time and you will find the highlights of it chronicled) I didn’t feel the need this year to intentionally focus on building our marriage. I also didn’t really want to give up one of the only weeknights we are home together. But, my husband felt we should attend so we purchased the tickets and scheduled it on the calendar. While the few hours spent were enjoyable, especially because our newly married son and his wife were also there, I can’t say we walked away with anything we didn’t already know. Of course, we are not skilled at always putting those things into practice, so in that sense, it was a good reminder to not put our marriage on cruise control.
Saturday we had the joy of having our grandson here for the day. Our daughter and son-in-law were married on Valentine’s Day, two years ago. They asked if we could watch little man for the day so they could use some gift cards they had for dinner and just spend some non-baby time together. With some arm twisting–okay, with NO arm twisting needed at all–we agreed to having him for the day. What fun that day was! Yes, I was exhausted when he left, and some chronic pain flared from constantly lifting him, but my heart was full of joy having him here. I got to rock him to sleep for nap time. He played with all his toys and we read lots and lots of books. I even got to snuggle him for twenty minutes or so when he was tired again in the afternoon but didn’t exactly want to fall asleep. It has been a while since he has just let me hold him while he looked around the room or played with my glasses. 🙂 When he left, we had some errands to run that we didn’t want to do while he was here given the frigid temperature that day.
Sunday we were scheduled for the welcome team for church which meant we had to be there earlier than usual. After church, there was some stress over our weekly lunch with the family. As a mom, I want everyone to be happy. Of course, that isn’t always possible, but when it doesn’t happen, I have a tremendous sense of guilt. After lunch we needed to make a stop at the health food grocery store. Our goal was to look at some of the items we normally ignore while also getting a few groceries. After a few hours at home, we made a treacherous drive to one of our favorite restaurants for a Valentine’s Day dinner date. We passed two cars spun out on the drive there and part of me was wishing we had just stayed home. All was good, though. By the time we left, the snow had stopped and the salt trucks had done some work.
Whew. Just typing it all out makes me tired.
Through all that we had on our plates this weekend, there is one thing that took place Friday night that really threw me.
When we left our church’s ministry building Friday night, we left in a hurry because my husband realized he forgot to submit his time sheet of billable hours for work. It needed to be in by 10:00 PM and the marriage night was supposed to end at 9:00. He didn’t remember that he had forgotten until about 9:00 PM. We rushed out of there, only taking the time to hug my son and daughter-in-law goodbye. As my husband approached the freeway exit I usually take to get home when I leave youth group during the week, he kept going. I almost said to him that it would have been faster to go that way but did not. He got his time sheet submitted with no time to spare. The next morning, as he was reading the news on his phone, he was shocked to see that there was a double shooting in our town. Now, we do live close to the city, but, the town we live in is considered to be an upper middle class area. A shooting in public is almost unheard of. A double one sounded bizarre. As the details unfolded, the story proved to be one of profound sadness. A woman was shot by her boyfriend after he either pushed her out of the car they were riding in or she jumped out to escape. Regardless, after he shot her, she still managed to keep running. Witnesses say she was going to other cars on the road trying to find someone to help her. As she ran, her boyfriend came up behind her, at one witness said was a speed of about 40 MPH, and hit her from behind. She crumpled in the roadway as he drove away. From there, he went back to the apartment where he lived to restock ammunition. Police chased him there, gunfire was exchanged, and the man was found dead in the apartment. I don’t believe it has been determined, or at least released yet, whether that man shot himself or if he was hit by police gunfire. Regardless, two lives were lost Friday night–the woman was hit at exactly the time we would have driven through that intersection had I spoken up.
What really saddens me in all of this is that there was a chance for someone to save this woman’s life. In this day and age, though, it is risky to take a chance to help others in an unknown situation. I have passed countless cars on the side of the road, drivers sitting inside waiting for someone to come pick them up because their car stopped running. It is generally as unsafe to stop to help as it would be for a stranded motorist to accept a ride with a stranger who offered to take them somewhere. My dad was an auto mechanic. I remember times as a kid when we would be going somewhere and would pass someone with a flat tire on the side of the road. I remember on more than one occasion, my dad stopping to help get the tire changed. Now, though, one never knows what might happen if one stops to help. Perhaps the person’s car isn’t really broken down and they are just waiting to ambush a good Samaritan who stops. The woman brutally killed Friday night had multiple piercings on her face. Did this cause people to ignore her desperate pleas? I don’t know. I asked myself, as did my husband, what would we have done if we had been there and she had come banging on our car window? My husband wondered aloud if, had he been there, would he have put his car between the maniac’s car and her? In the moment, there would be no time to think through consequences. The people there that night had only fractions of a second to make up their minds. It is a sad reality–the world we live in is cruel. As a mom with two daughters, my heart broke for her parents. She was someone’s little girl at one point. Someone held her at birth, changed her diapers, rocked her to sleep and read her books–much like I got to do with my grandson on Saturday. I can’t imagine the heartache her parents must be going through right now. Perhaps they did not approve of their daughter’s relationship to begin with. Perhaps there is guilt for not doing more to persuade her to leave him. I am so thankful that my older daughter, who celebrated with her wonderful husband on Saturday while we watched their precious baby boy, found a man who loves her and would never hurt her. I am thankful his parents raised him to respect women and taught him how to treat them properly. I pray my younger daughter finds a man like that as well.
In the meantime, I pray that my eyes and heart would be open if encountered with someone who is desperate for help.