Waking UP in America – Podcast Series
Waking Up in America – the podcast series is about people, music and stories that can help us heal, love and uplift others.
In this episode, Tajci tells a story of helping a woman whose truck broke down in the remote hills of Kentucky, on the weekend of a tremendous divide in America.
Story and poem in this podcast episode:
Last Sunday I drove down a remote Kentucky road. I passed a woman in a long gray coat leaning on her cane and waving at me. She stood next to her truck. I sped by her just like the car before me did.
Then, I took a second look in my rear view mirror. The hood of her truck was up.
“I couldn’t help her even if I stopped” a thought flashed through my mind. “I don’t know anything about cars and I am incredibly out of my element here, where I don’t know people and my phone barely gets any signal.”
But I had just spent a weekend with some amazing women and we talked about, among other things, our need to transcend fear, get out of our comfort zone, become stronger and take care of all of our brothers and sisters – not just the ones we agree and feel comfortable with…
I also had two meetings scheduled that coming week – with organizations that take care of suffering, struggling and broken women.
I hit the brakes and put my car into reverse.
“I don’t know anything about cars, and I’m not from here but I can at least stay with you until someone more competent shows up.” I told her when as I backed up to her and rolled down my window.
“Thank you” she said and after she told me what had happened she smiled: “I like your hair.”
“And I like yours,” I replied. Mine was all pink and purple and she had pink highlights in hers.
For a while I stood next to her and between waving at cars, I texted my friend with whom I had just spent the weekend. She sent me a phone number of a local mechanic who answered the phone only to say he didn’t work on Sundays.
It was cold. The woman’s back was hurting and she was really upset. Several cars passed by with not one stopping.
“Well… maybe I wouldn’t have stopped either” I thought, “for two women with pink hair standing on a side of the road in KY. I used to judge women by their appearance too…”
She told me she had just moved to KY from up north to be closer to family, but her situation was hard and complicated. She was staying at someone’s house ‘in the sticks.’ She was a beautiful woman who went through a lot.
After our failed attempt to have someone more resourceful come to rescue, we decided I was going to take her back to the house. I sent a prayer out for someone to pass by so we could take her up together, because I just felt a bit too vulnerable to go alone. I trusted her, but I didn’t know the area well enough to know what we could get into.
As we moved her stuff (that included a guitar and two cute little puppies) into my van, another woman who had been at the same gathering I was returning from drove by with her husband. She recognized me and stopped. The four of us drove my pink-haired friend back to the house. As I navigated the small dirt road with my ‘suburban mom minivan’ I listened to her tell me about her music, singing and how much she loved Scotland. Before we left her in a small dark house, the couple that came with us gave her some money and I gave her my card… to stay in touch. I sensed her hurt. She shared her pain briefly with me – but also her faith… Maybe someone that I had interviewed on Waking Up in America would turn out to be a resource for her… I was grateful I had stopped.
I drove back to Nashville in silence. I felt sad. I turned on the news… I prayed that we could see the humanity, God’s creation in each other before we look for our differences. I prayed that none of us would ever deny help and mercy to another human being just because they don’t ‘fit’ the right description.
There were bumper stickers on the woman’s truck that clearly defined her ‘side.’ It crossed my mind that that might turn up to be an additional reason for people not wanting to help her. What a horrible thought! I felt uncomfortable even thinking it…
The next morning, I woke up at my beautiful house. Sad. Uneasy. With this unrest inside. How did we end up here? How did we create such mess in which some people have all the opportunities and some have none. Some can get help and some are left on the side of the road. I felt aggitated, irritated, angry. I needed to let out my thoughts. And in looking for ways to express myself, I wrote a poem.
One day we were friends, neighbors, and spouses
and the next we were supposed to hate each other.
The blanket of communism lifted and revealed
our differences, our political and religious beliefs
And instead of loving each other more
(because that’s what all of our God(s) want)
we were told how we should be afraid and fight
we were told why each of us was more ‘right.’
Weapons were picked up and war started.
Who really gained what?
Who won and who lost?
There can’t be ‘them’ and ‘us’ in suffering
if you tell me we are all ‘one body.’
of Christ present
‘But it doesn’t apply’ some would say
“Clearly some are serving the other side.”
I was called a traitor when I said out loud
that I believe we are all created from the same Love,
when I refused to hate or judge… or take sides…
The only ‘other side’ I recognize
maddening race for power.
This ‘other side’ lives within,
without us, it doesn’t exist.
So, you see, the ‘other’ is both ‘them’ and ‘us’
we have to keep it in check. Recognize
when it’s being fed and it’s creeping out,
and know if you and I are serving it, or not.
In the land of brave and free
I now watch friends and neighbors (and spouses) disagree
Agitated to the point of
in which it’s harder and harder to see
who really benefits, and who really wins.
Writing helped me to express my thoughts and move all that I was feeling out and make the room for love and grace to settle back into my heart.
A few days later, the woman from Kentucky called me. She was ok, but still needed help. Before we hang up, she read to me the poem she had just written. It was about not focusing on the life’s storms, but focusing on the captain of our ship, God, who will always find a way to get us out of them.
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