Rush Hour. Laguna Hills, California. November, 2011.
Stopped at a red light controlling a busy intersection, I watched in my rear-view mirror as cars came to rest behind me. It was quitting time on Friday, a brisk hour for traffic.
Surveying the scene, I noticed three young men pushing a van that had broken down in a lane that feeds a freeway onramp. One of them had turned around, leaning into the heavy vehicle with his back; the other two bent forward at a precarious angle. They struggled against a rise in the road. I could practically feel their muscles straining to get the van up the hill and through the intersection.
As I watched, the van slowed to a near-stop. Fear gripped me. If the van came to a complete stop, its next movement would be to roll backwards down the hill, over the men laboring to push it. The driver's seat was empty--no one sat behind the wheel to apply the emergency brake and prevent a catastrophe. I held my breath and whispered a prayer.
A black pickup truck sat behind the van. The passenger door flew open and a man in a blue t-shirt ran to the van, claiming a spot among the three men. With his efforts added to their own, they gained some forward momentum.
Now they were pushing the van into the intersection, another risky maneuver. What if some motorist, preoccupied with thoughts of his dinner or the weekend stretching before him or happy hour, watching only the signal and not the traffic in the intersection, plowed into them? I watched anxiously as traffic began to edge around them.
A discount gas station occupied the corner across the intersection from the disabled vehicle. I could see lines of cars waiting for their turns at the pump. Two men came running from the station into the intersection, their neckties flapping as they ran, adding their strength to the team's effort.
With six men pushing, they safely cleared the intersection. One man jogged forward and hopped into the driver's seat of the van. As he steered the van into the gas station's parking lot, I wanted to cheer.
As I continued towards home, towards my husband, towards rest, the gloomy fall day seemed a bit brighter.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.
Hebrews 6:9-10 (NIV)