The flow of thick Saturday morning traffic halts. Red lights flash, heartbeats pulse with loud thumps.
A fallen motorcycle lays in the far right lane of the six-lane highway, a gleaming pile of suddenly immobile metal and rubber.
The small SUV in front of my larger SUV slows, stops, emergency lights flashing a warning. Two woman leap out, rush to the scene in front of their car.
A downed motorcycle. People on the road.
The sight of the motorcycle on its side halts my breath. I slam my foot on the brake and glance in the rear view mirror. My finger jams the red triangle button on the dash. The car behind me pulls closer, but sees the lights.
Someone honks on the southbound side. Everything metal and human slows.
People on the road.
Two people had been astride the muscular bike, and my body fires with the spiky adrenaline as the drama of Hollywood jumps into real life with no stunt people and no CGI to fill in the blanks.
People on the road.
I crane my neck–rubbernecking is a thing–and peer around the small SUV. The two ladies are on the scene, standing over the downed bikers, shouting questions.
Helping the fallen.
Hands reach for hands, and the two bikers struggle to their feet. A collective sigh fills the vehicles stopped on their way to pick up groceries and attend birthday parties. Gather with friends and play soccer games.
The motorcycle is black and shiny–a Harley most likely–and its riders a man and woman, middle-aged. Shock slows their bodies, paints their features. The man nods at something the passenger–his wife?–says.
Car doors slam and three more people fill the scene, concern worn like coats, arms outstretched. Cell phones ready.
Someone takes a picture, and I grimace. Put it away.
A faithful woman jumps off her stool on the grass-carpeted corner from which she hands out grace each Saturday. The cardboard “Jesus Cares” sign tucked under one arm, she hurries toward the motorcycle couple brushing gravel from their jeans and leather jackets.
Without hesitating, Jesus Cares wraps each biker in a thorough hug, comforting as a mother would. Whispering words I wish I could hear, but smile about anyway.
They’re okay. I’m still uncertain what happened this bustling morning, but they’re okay.
A burly bystander has picked up the bike, and three people roll it to the roadside. The ladies in the small SUV in front of mine jump back in their vehicle, pull up beside the limping bikers, and reset their flashers.
Giving the stunned bikers more time to settle, necessary moments to recuperate from meeting the road face-to-face, while the rest of us slowly drive away, considering what happened. Thinking of those now behind us who lifted the fallen.
Of Jesus Cares offering arms to comfort, hold close. Coming forward to strengthen and support.
And I’m reminded of friends and family, of tight warm arms and grace-filled, you-can-still-fly words that have lifted me when I’ve fallen. Can you, too? I hope so.
Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecc. 4:9-12)
When I started this writing life, it was mostly on my own. My parents have always been there, from the day in fifth grade when I wrote a story called Attack of the Killer Onions after watching a goofy movie with dangerous grumbling tomatoes.
They–and other dear family members– have moved me forward to the dream’s beginning mark. To the “GO” God inscribed on my heart seven years ago with a character who wouldn’t get out of my head.
Now there are fellow writers whose arms have lifted. Whose words have encouraged and whose stories have inspired.
And I meet still more each month, each conference I attend. Sensitive people who love the Lord, love words and stories and long to share those with others. Who use the gift of words to entertain and teach.
I’m thankful for their arms and words, lifting me when I’ve fallen.
And I pray I take my turn standing over the fallen, lifting them back up. Helping brush off the gravel of disappointment and the dirt of despair when the road chokes progress or turns the wrong direction.
Today, tomorrow, be a lifter. Lifting the fallen.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov. 17:17)