What if?

cloudsEarlier this week I made a post on my personal FB page and it got some traction. 150 clicks. A basic feel good story. An example of the general goodness of people. Here’s the post again:

“Yesterday I found myself carrying a load of cameras, three blocks from my truck, in a sudden downpour. I moved under a parking lot awning to stay dry. It wasn’t going to let up and I wondered how I was going to make it back to my truck when a woman stepped out of her van with a big umbrella for two and said “Where are you trying to go? Let’s walk.” Thanks kind stranger.”

These things happen to me from time to time, and it reinforces my belief in humanity.

But today I drove 600 miles, hauling A Peace of My Mind’s exhibit toward Asheville, NC for UNC’s weeklong celebration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.

Time on the road alone gives me time to catch up with friends on the phone, listen to interesting podcasts, sing show tunes at the top of my lungs (sorry…it’s true), and think. There’s lots of time to think.

I don’t want to take anything away from that moment in the rain when a stranger reached out to help me in a bind. It was just what I needed. Her shoes got soaked in the process, and she just laughed.

But I’ve been thinking…

And let me be clear…nothing from here on out relates to that woman who helped me. There’s every chance she would have helped anyone who was in need at that moment…but I’ve been thinking…

What if I had been dirty and bedraggled, standing under that awning…what if, in fact, I had really been in greater need…would anyone have helped?

What if I’d been tattooed and pierced? Would someone have stepped forward to help?

What if I was a woman? Wearing hijab?

What if I was from another country and I didn’t understand the language? How would that have changed the encounter?

What if I was black? Hispanic? Asian? How would that have changed my odds? How would that have changed my experience?

A part of me wants to just enjoy that positive encounter, but my sense of peace is built around the notion that I’ll be ok when others around me are ok…it’s a collective sense of well-being.

So who is it that really needs our help…and what can we do to offer it?

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