April 14, 2008

Stuck In Our Bubbles

I'm out running some errands the other day and the first one is to an auto parts store to get a bulb for my taillight that was out. I got the bulb and figured I might as well change it right there in the parking lot because it's a beautiful afternoon and in case I got the wrong size or something before I continue with my other errands. As I'm working on changing my light I notice a lady that has just walked out of the store, got into her suburban that was parked directly next to me and start crying.

So at this point, I've got the new bulb in and am ready to leave while pretending as if I didn't notice this lady sitting in her car crying to avoid making her feel any more uncomfortable that she might already have felt. There I am, sitting in my driver's seat, engine running with more errands to run and I found myself pausing..."should I say something to her?...should I ask her if she's OK or needs any help?...but I don't want to freak her out or seem creepy"...pause...pause...I slowly put my foot on the brake, placed the car in drive and drove away.

I have struggled with this situation ever since. I know it's not fair to play the "what-if" game but I can't help but think about what the right thing to do would have been. It seems obvious to me that Jesus wouldn't have hesitated to see if the crying lady needed anything and yet I drove away because I was afraid of making her feel uncomfortable, scared, embarrassed or making me seem creepy.

Sometimes I think it's unfortunate that in the U.S. we have created such an individualized culture with impermeable personal bubbles that we find ourselves getting stuck inside our own bubble. We don't know what to do when someone is asking, hoping and maybe even begging for someone to pop the bubble...and not in some creepy way but in the compassionate, loving way that Jesus did and does. And maybe that someone that is asking, hoping or even begging for someone to burst the bubble is you or me. I've been trying to think about it that way, if it were me, would I want someone to take notice or just drive away...