I have probably taken at least a hundred or so classes for CPR, first aid, etc. over the past several years if you consider my time in the military, group exercise instructing, and other various roles along the way. And sometimes, the procedures for certain triage have changed over the years. Take CPR, for example, where I can recall four or five different methods for administering breathing to someone who’s unconscious!
With all those types of changes, I’ve often wondered, “If I’m ever in the situation for immediate care, would I recall how to respond?”.
Since moving my office from the South Park area of Charlotte, to the Uptown area a few weeks ago, I’ve seen my share of the flurry of activity in the city’s thriving, major business network. Last week, I talked about the sidewalk preacher who I often see while walking the three blocks from the bank building to the parking deck. There’s always something to see on those walks…but this week, I found myself in the middle of something completely unexpected.
I was working a little bit later than usual on Monday and by the time I walked out of the bank building, the streets were definitely full of cars and people heading home for the day. I was in a little bit of a hurry since I had a 6 pm obligation, and was trying to catch as many of the crosswalks with the pedestrian “go” signals lite up as possible, even if it meant going a slightly different route than usual to get to the parking deck. I made it through two crosswalks without delay, but the third one was lite up “red”….no walking yet.
There were several others at both sides of the busy intersection and I watched as the red flashing numbers opposite from me counted down from 5, 4, 3, 2, and then 1. Whew…finally I could cross.
Then, I heard a crashing sound from just to my right; a new sound I had not heard since moving to Uptown. As I spun around to see what was causing the noise, I saw a commuter cyclist smashed into a car who’s driver had obviously not see him at all. Imagine the horror as I watched the cyclist upended, doing two somersaults before coming crashing down to the hot asphalt on the other side of my crosswalk.
Instinctively, I ran across the street, threw off my computer bag, and dove to the ground where the cyclist was lying in pain. Another pedestrian, likewise rushed to the man’s aid and immediately called 911 for help. I quickly reached into my bag and grabbed a pad of paper and a pen. As I looked over the man for injuries, his knee was very badly damaged, a chunk of flesh ripped away several inches deep, as was a smaller wound near his ankle.
“What’s your name”, I asked.
“You’re gonna be okay.”
“Tell me what hurts.”
“Do you have any allergies?”
“What’s your blood type.”
I was scribbling down everything the man was saying to me.
Another by-stander came over and said, “I have the license plate of the car that hit him.”
“Thanks”, I replied and wrote down the number since the driver was not immediately at the scene of the accident.
Within minutes, a half-dozen police officers were at the intersection, as was a team of paramedics and ambulance. Everything happened so quickly and in a strange way, seemed very orchestrated.
The first police officer came over to me as I was still sitting next to the cyclist on the street and said, “What do you know?”
“Here, officer. I have some information that might be helpful.” And then I went through a quick litany of injuries based on my rudimentary sidewalk triage. The officer asked if he could have the piece of paper from my notebook, which I tore out and handed off.
And then as the cyclist was loaded onto a stretcher for transport to the hospital, I faded away from the scene and continued my walk to the parking deck.
And, within moments, the whole event seemed surreal. “Did that really just happen”, I was asking myself.
I wonder how many of us have those similar “God wink” moments throughout our lives, and even throughout our days? Hundreds of classes, yet I was hardly ever put into a situation to “act” until this week.
Or, maybe there were other moments and I just wasn’t paying attention?
I believe God is constantly preparing us for times where we will be called into action. Maybe not quite as dramatic as rendering first aid to another injured individual. But still, He is preparing you and he’s preparing me.
We may never know when God will call us, but rest assured, He will call. How will you respond? Will you be ready and will you act? Or will you stand by and be a witness?
My prayer this week is that we will not simply stand by. There are events happening all around us where God has been preparing us to step in. Let’s all open our eyes to the world around us that needs our help. Conduct some inventory of what God has been preparing you to do, what talents He has provided you, and discover where you can serve your community and fellow human beings.
It’s God’s creation, but we’re charged to take care.