As my family was at the beach house again, I was reminded of something that happened two years ago when we were there before. We were walking back from lunch and a man was staggering down the sidewalk, even grabbing onto a light pole, a little distance in back of us. I couldn’t tell if he was drunk or sick. And I was afraid and kept on walking–even more quickly.

I’ve kicked myself for that decision many times since then, especially when I heard about a woman who died in a hospital waiting room because no one came to her aid.

I’ve tried to figure out why we people do things like this. And I’ve made a mental commitment to not ignore someone who needs help, even if…well, I was going to say, even if it’s dangerous, but I’m sure there’s a limit to that. But at least I could call 9-1-1.

I wonder if something contributes to our responses: movies. One time I was driving in the driving rain on a freeway and before I knew it, I’d passed a car that was upside down. One car had stopped and I thought I should stop, but by then I had well passed it. I tried calling the California Highway Patrol but the line was continually busy–the freeways were that bad from the storm.

But I distinctly remember the feeling of seeing that upside down car. I felt like I was watching a movie and it didn’t seem real. It was the weirdest feeling. It was like my brain said, “That can’t be real” because I’ve seen so many things like that in movies and TV and it wasn’t real then.

So I guess we get anthesitized to shocking things. And I’m sure that fear of doing a wrong thing and getting sued can also contribute to our hesitancy.

But that’s just what I’m wondering. I’m sure there are many reasons.

All I can say and pray is, “Lord, give me courage to help in the next situation if someone looks like they need help.” I may not know exactly what to do (I couldn’t have turned that car over) but I could have talked to the people while we waited for help, even if I did get wet.