Guest Blog by Teddy BurrissWhy Me Lord?
Do you ask yourself this question: “Why me Lord?” I do, in fact, for months now, I’ve asked this “why” every day. Recently I made a bold leap of faith, dramatically changing my day-to-day life in response to this question. In fact, I even I started wondering it out loud and even praying for an answer, asking: ”What did I do to become so blessed?”
Why am I the lucky one? Why is my life so fabulous and easy? Why do I have such a great family? Why am I so healthy. Why do I have enough of the materialistic stuff to make my life comfortable and enjoyable?
Why have I been chosen to be so blessed?
I still don’t know all the answers, but I get messages every now and then that I am now trying to pay attention to.
The messages seem to be a guidance to something new. Something different, important and relevant.
I got another message this past December. Here’s how it happened:
It was a normal 5:30pm end to another chaotic workday downtown. As I headed down the ramp from Broad Street to I-40 West, traffic snarled and nearly stopped. Snorting to myself about the delay, I crept down the ramp and saw that there was a car stopped right smack at the end of the ramp. I snorted again, I wanted to get home, dang it! Traffic was real heavy as I am sure everyone had the same plans I had – get home. No one would cut anyone any slack, so there was no merging going on here today, especially as everyone tried to get around the stalled car.
In less than a minute I was next in line to scoot past the disabled car. I was pushing the clutch in, hurriedly yanking the gearshift down into 2nd just as I pulled up alongside the disabled car. My mind processed “Finally, Yeah!,” just as I looked out my passenger side window and saw a lady crying her eyes out in the disabled car. Years or maybe months before I would have yanked the car into the next gear and kept going, but today, I pressed the clutch in, down shifted and twisted the steering wheel to the right to stop in front of the disabled car.
I jumped out of my car and walked back to the disabled car, very aware that all of the other drivers were ticked off at me because I was now an additional delay for them as lots of them slowed even more to see what I was going to do. Lots of people were looking at me with disdain and scowling faces as if I were their newest big pain of the day. The repeated piercing looks were very real and somewhat hurtful.
As I walked toward her, I could see and hear the hysterical crying. She appeared to be falling apart as she sat in the immobile car, knuckles white as she grasped the steering wheel, her entire body shaking, gasping for air, her head jerking up and down and her face red with pain and terror.
I walked up to her car, tapped gently on the glass and beckoned for her to wind down the window, thinking she would press a button, but instead, she started actually “winding” it down. I quickly viewed the car and saw it to be an old, damaged and apparently worn out car, full of “stuff” scattered about the seats and floorboard.
I leaned closer to her and in the calmest voice I could use, yet be heard over the roar of cars flying past us, said, “It looks like your car does not love you today. Let’s see what we can do to get you out of here. My name is Teddy, what is your name?”
Still sobbing uncontrollably, she responded, “I’m Pam. I just had my car worked on and it cost me all the money I had in the bank, and now it’s broke again. My son is very sick and in the hospital. He is going into surgery in an hour and I need to get there with his stuff before they take him to the operating room. My cell phone does not work and I don’t even know who I would call.” The tears streamed down her face as she spoke.
Keeping calm I said, “Well, we can’t worry about your broken car right now, let’s figure out what to do to get you over to the hospital. Maybe what we should do is call the police and tell them your car is blocking traffic and I’ll drive you over to the hospital while we call a tow truck.” Crying maybe just a little bit less, she said, “Will you do this for me?” “Yes Pam, I want to do this for you.”
I decided that since traffic was really messed up, I would call 911 and ask them what to do. Again, in a calm and direct voice I told Pam to get her stuff and head to my car, which she started doing. I helped her carry a few of the bags of things she had for her son as I dialed and then talked with a 911 operator. Almost on cue a City Police car came over the hill, flipped on its blue lights and pulled up behind Pam’s car. Letting the 911 operator know that the City Cop was here, she hung up. I walked back toward the cop and quickly told him what was happening. Pam’s hysteria had slipped aside and she appeared much calmer now that the police officer was here to help her.
He had another plan. ”My dad is in the hospital and that is where I am heading right now. I’ll take her there.” So, in a few quick movements we moved Pam’s bags over to the cop’s car for plan B.
The cop had Pam drift her car down the hill and onto a section of grass alongside the road so that she would not be blocking traffic anymore and so that he would not have to call an emergency wrecker (i.e. lots of $$) to move it; a better idea from someone with more traffic-chaos experience.
As Pam, now much calmer, headed back to the police car, I said good-bye and good luck. She stopped, turned and nearly blocking traffic again, gave me a big hug, saying, “Thank you for stopping. No one else cared enough to stop, let alone get out and offer to help. You did and you stayed calm while all the cars flew by. I really appreciate your help.” I wished her well and told her I would pray that her son’s surgery went well.
I got in my car and drove off. The total time involved with Pam and her problems had to be less than 10 minutes. But in that 10 minutes I again faced my original question, “Why me Lord?”
Here was a lady who has an old car, is out of money, worried about her sick child, no idea how to solve her current problem and no one willing to help her.
It seems like such a simple issue now, but at that moment Pam’s problems all piled up to become so overwhelming to cause her to melt down on the highway.
As I drove away, I’m not sure exactly why, but I started to tear up myself. Let me honest here, I actually openly cried in my car as I thought again about “Why me Lord?”
Again – Why am I the lucky one? Why is my life is so fabulous and easy? Why do I have such a great family? Why am I so healthy. Why do I have enough of the materialistic stuff to make my life comfortable and enjoyable? Why do I have a good job and make good money?
Why have I been chosen to be so blessed? Why me Lord?
I may have an answer, or at least part of the answer.
“I have so that I can give.”
And, I think the giving I am supposed to do is not in the typical way of donating a little money here and there, or doing a little volunteer work when it fits my schedule. This is important, but I think it’s not enough for me.
No, I think the giving I am supposed to be doing is going to be at another level.
So, I have taken a leap of faith, far bolder than I have ever done before. I quit my job to find out exactly what it is I am supposed to do to fulfill my new role of Giving Back. I have decided that making lots of money is not what’s important to me any longer. My bills need to be paid and getting some of what I want is somewhat important, but helping individuals directly is what I need to be doing. I am on a quest to find a new role where I do this every day.
It’s my quest, no one else needs to be on it with me. However, I wonder, who else is as blessed as I am and asks the same question I do every morning, “Why me Lord?”
If you are blessed in any way, have you asked yourself the question – “Why me Lord?”
Do you have so that you can give?
(Editor’s Note: to respond to Teddy’s essay click on the “contribute” button at the end of this column.)
Teddy Burriss, local business consultant and social networker extraordinaire, wrote this Bridges’ Guest Blog. Currently on a short-lived and self-imposed sabbatical from a day-day job, Teddy’s current quest is to find new activities in his life where he can help individuals with personal and professional development. Teddy regularly writes in his personal blog at http://tlburriss.wordpress.com where he chronicles stories of his personal and professional life. The posts are mostly humorous in nature, yet many provide insights into what our lives are or could be. Teddy’s personal edict is to “Find, develop and nurture relationships that mutually move people forward thru life.” With his wife Rebecca at his side, he just completed a 30-day cross country tour of the US which they documented at http://tlburriss2.wordpress.com