“It wasn’t a Pea,” the doctor declared as she emerged from the operating room.
He stood at the side of the road, and stumbled when I drove by.
After six years of passing this same spot in my commute – most of it in the middle of the night – seeing a pedestrian before dawn along this roadway was completely out of place. He was alone. There was no car nearby, at least no car that looked out of place or unfamiliar. He stood still, with something in his hand that I couldn’t identify. The way he carried himself didn’t give the impression of criminal activity, because it seems to me he would have concealed himself when I drove near. Instead, I felt like I was witnessing mental illness or intoxication. To pass someone standing along a deserted road in these circumstances at 3:40am is not only unexpected, but downright uncomfortable. Not knowing what kind of help he might need, if any at all, I did the only thing I knew was appropriate: I pulled to the roadside a half mile away and called 911.
I got to this point because of The Nudge.
Something told me to walk out the door earlier than normal this morning, and wasn’t until I saw his that I understood why, Leaving for work early gave me the chance to cross paths with someone who might be in distress. It also gave me ample time to pull over and tell someone who had the authority to help him. In my world, this is an example of God nudging me quietly in a direction that I didn’t expect, because He know I’m needed somewhere at a certain time. This isn’t the first instance; I’ve seen it before and, as I get older, I’ve learned to trust The Nudge more and more.
I will probably never know the outcome of this bizarre situation, but I know I did the right thing.
For some reason I didn’t take a picture of David’s birth parents on the day I met up with them.
In 2003 Jacob had been forced to leave his old apartment and, due to non-payment, also lost everything he had in a storage unit. The reason for my visit to Sherwood OR that day was to bring him a bicycle, so he could get around for work or job interviews. David’s birth parents were no longer together as a couple but, as I suspected, the birth mother was still hanging around his new apartment.
“She has nowhere to go,” he explained after answering the door.
There happened to be a car show three blocks from his apartment, so the three of us walked around the event – talking and looking at cars for at least a couple hours. Like me, Jacob was a gear head. Unlike me, he was completely at ease in a crowd and would approach a complete stranger to ask for a cigarette (he was charismatic, and strangers always gave him one). To him there were no strangers – only people who didn’t know him yet.
Jen just liked being around Jacob.
A person could tell that her mind was a constant whir of ideas and thoughts. Equipped with an 8th-grade education, she was clearly intense and street smart. She spoke with emotion, intensity, and regret over losing parental rights of their son – David’s bio brother. Jacob produced a file folder crammed with documents that he was going to present in an upcoming court case – which he said would prove that Ryan should come back to him. And as he talked, I looked behind him at the railroad tracks stretching through Sherwood and into the distance. I snapped the picture you see here, instead of getting a picture of them.
I think back and realize that was a mistake.
How easy it would have been to say “Let’s get a picture of you two together,” but somehow that didn’t happen. Sadly, it was the last time I saw either one of them in person. Walking around the car show with them was actually quite fun; what I enjoyed about their personalities then is coming out in David’s personality now. Like Jen, David’s head is always thinking, connecting, scheming, solving. Like Jacob, David is quick to approach someone to ask a question – even if the person is a stranger or someone he has never met. Our son exhibits the best parts of his birth parents’ personalities. So when I see him, I think of them. And when I think of them, I think of this picture.
And that image of them together remains a permanent memory.
“So did you have fun at the Kid Zone today?” I asked one day in April 2010.
David – 8 years old at the time – and his little brother Jack were playing in the kid’s room at the YMCA while I worked out. It was a big room that housed a two-story structure on one end with climbing and slides. Inside, there were all sorts of nooks and crannies where kids could hide out and do stuff outside the sight of room leaders.
“Yeah,” he said. “But some kids were making fun of Jack’s legs. One of them pushed him down.”
Jack has a disability, and wears a prosthetic leg.
“That’s not nice. Did you tell the teacher?”
“No,” he said calmly. “I took care of it.”
David is part Sicilian, so I immediately had thoughts of bully kids “sleeping with the fishes,” or being wacked and hidden between the play structure and the wall. Of course, neither were true. But it was funny to imagine a TV Version of the story.
“What you do you mean ‘you took care of it?'” I asked.
“I told them it wasn’t okay to make fun of people,” he replied. “And they stopped.”
Phew. Good job David 🙂