Surprised by the compassion of Jesus THROUGH me in the face of my own pain and the reality of one of my worst fears. I'm learning what it means to SEE and LOVE like Jesus....
My husband and I are triathletes, which, among many things, mean we ride a bicycle on city streets. (Yes, it is legal; share the road. But that is another topic - a rant, actually - for another time.) Yesterday, at 5:05 AM, on the way to the group ride, my husband was hit from behind by a motorist. A rare morning that I was not on the ride, our dear friend and fellow cyclist calmly called 911 and then me. On the phone, she did not mention what kind of accident; I did not ask. But driving to the scene, I put two and two together and knew. I was walking into one of my biggest fears.
Upon arrival, I hurried past the police cars with their drivers keeping watch and the fire truck with men packing gear. Claude's crumpled bike, lights still brightly blinking, caught my eye. I gasped an expletive, and my friend reminded me, "It's replaceable," while her pained eyes pushed me to climb into the back of the ambulance.
I was unprepared for what I saw. I have been the one in the back of an ambulance after a bike crash. I expected the broken bones and road rash, but the impact to his face and the pieces of the car's windshield in his forehead catching the light were...well...no words. Choking back tears, I looked for a place that my gentle touch would not cause more pain, declared by love, took my instructions from the paramedics to meet them at the ER, and staggered out of the ambulance mumbling instructions to myself, trying to keep my head clear and emotions stuffed. Now was not the time to loose it.
Making my way to my friend, I heard a still small voice. "The driver. Go to the driver." (Reader should note: I have a LOT of pent up hostility toward drivers while cycling. We live in a very hostile area for cyclist. Again, another topic for another day.) Suddenly, I was filled with inexplicable compassion. "Is that the driver?" I asked my friend. She nodded, and I made a beeline for her. In that moment, I did not know if the driver was impaired or had been distracted when her car plowed into my husband...when her thousands-of-pounds machine took aim at Claude's 165 pounds of carbon + flesh wrapped in spandex. I still don't. I just knew she had not fled the scene, and for this, I was immensely grateful.
I asked her name and offered mine. Apologies tumbled from her lips; she immediately knew who I must be in relation to the cyclist. It was a surreal moment in time. I offered forgiveness, compassion, and peace. I did not feel hurried or urgent. I stayed in the moment and prayed for her. I knew when I was done, hugged her, and turned to face whatever laid ahead.
Looking back, it was somewhat of an out-of-body experience, compelled by love to offer compassion to someone who had caused great harm to my beloved. It was not me; it was Jesus...Jesus showing compassion through one of His followers...bringing His Kingdom into a dark place of pain. I will be forever grateful to have been in that moment, outside of myself.
Pray for Claude, but pray also for Aeriel.