Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How would you react?

So, I'm leaving Sam's Club yesterday afternoon headed out to pick up the kids from school. Sadie was in the car with me and as we're pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a man shove the woman he was with to the ground. He pushed her from behind, hard, in front of a lot of people both in cars and on foot and then continued to scream obscenities at her while she pulled herself to her feet. No one did a thing - not the men waiting outside of the convenient store, the cars driving by, or the security guard cruising the lot. I stopped my car in front of them and immediately called 911 as he yelled more at her and then turned his attention and verbal abuse at me. The police took a painful ten minutes to respond and during that time, I was called just about every name in the book and some I'd never heard. I tried to comfort the woman as she stood by my window while sweet Sadie scrambled into the very back seat.

Several years ago, I happen to see a video on Dateline on domestic abuse like this. Actors posing as a couple went to a park and began to fight. The man became more and more physical as the filming continued. To the shock of viewers, most people did nothing or pretended they didn't notice when they obviously did. Only a few women confronted the man in an effort to help the woman. The question posed was, "What would you do if you were in the same situation?"

I had no idea. Of all I've seen living in the hood, I haven't encountered such a blatant display of abuse - especially in public.

My first reaction was to stop and help. I did all I could do but desperately wanted to do more. Sweet Hannah reminded me this afternoon of this scripture she has been studying with the junior high girls..."If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love?

After the police arrived, I left and Sadie was scared to tears. I thought to myself, 'Why in the world would I do anything that could put her in danger? That man was so angry, he could have hurt us both.' and, 'Where do we draw the line between protecting our children and doing the right thing for our 'neighbor'?

I agree with Francis Chan who says we seek safety, comfort, and security too much as believers. But, I struggle when it comes to my own children. I know He is faithful to guard them as we live out His call on our lives and yet my faith in Him and his ability to do so waivers often. Especially after replaying all the possibilities of yesterday's situation in my head.

Do you struggle with this? How would you have reacted?

Darius and Dea said, "Aw, MaMelissa, We told you to carry a baseball bat. That's when you pull it out and tell the guy to step off or you're gonna beat the crap out of him."

And there you have it.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

20 comments:

Sitesx6 said...

GOOD JOB!
You did exactly what you should have (in my opinion). First, SHAME on every single other person who did NOTHING.

But, you stayed in your car and protected yourself and your child. That was smart. Good job!

I hope I would have done the exact same thing. I saw the same Dateline and was SHOCKED at how many people did NOTHING. I'd be afraid, but I hope I'd act.

Kelly

Abby said...

Love the verse from Hannah, so true. And crazy enough, I was just about to post a video I saw last night with Francis Chan speaking on comfortable Christian lives. Good for you for doing something. Yes, it's a whole new world when it comes to our kids, but we also cannot let fear rule us. You knew the Lord was speaking to your heart to do something, and He won't leave you high and dry once you do. You or your kids.

And I've seen those Datelines and I gotta admit I was expecting you to pop in and say that that's who it was. I was off, unfortunately.

ehardin said...

I have been in some situations similar, but not that extreme that involved my kids. It's a hard line. Some my husband was not overly excited I crossed, but I did. He was not happy I put the kids in harms way at any length, but also knew I had done the right thing, as you did.
God protected her. You did the right thing.
Only God knows what would have happened to that poor woman when she got home.

Cole said...

I applaud that you were able to step in and help that poor woman, while others stood by and did nothing. I admire you for taking action.

You never know how you're going to react to a situation until it happens - and I hope that if I ever encounter a situation like you did; that I'd react that same way.

Debbie said...

I was with some friends when we were driving in Westchester County, New York. We were crossing a bridge and there was a man who had his girlfriend by the arm and was going to throw her over the bridge. My friend's husband stopped the car and immediately tried to intervene. The man started grabbing him then while he was cursing and carrying on. With all of us, we were able to subdue the man until police came. But it could have been dangerous for all. However, we couldn't just sit and do nothing. This was before everyone had cell phones too.

Jess said...

Wow Mel. All I know is that we are to be a "light" to the world. How can we be a light when we ignore abuse right in front of our face? You did the right thing, and you set the right example for Sae Sae. :0) I certainly understand wanting to protect your child..even though I'm still carrying mine, I already get upset at certain things that are beyond my control and need to protect her.
I have witnessed a few situations of abuse and called 911 immediately. I didn't go to the person being abused though...I stared from a distance. I also have been known to call the traffic police on a few drivers that were obviously intoxicated. I will admit to calling the cops on a psycho driver once too...not drunk...just psycho and needed to be pulled over.

That is a scary situation, but you handled it EXACTLY as HE would have wanted. I know it.

Zan said...

You did what the Holy Spirit prompted you to do and He protected both you and Sadie. If you had done nothing, you would be consumed with guilt and wondering what ever happened to that woman. Don't underestimate that you very well could have saved her life right then. I am sure you are shaken and I do understand that conflict of protecting our kids...so sorry you had this encounter.

happygeek said...

I honestly don't know.
I would have called 911 for sure, I don't know how close to the situation I would have gotten. I'd like to say I'd do exactly what you did, but my fear is something that often overtakes me. Until I am in the moment, I do not know how I would act.
Sin is such an ugly thing, it's hard to stand against it and protect our kids from it at the same time.

pcb said...

I agree with Zan. You did exactly what the Holy Spirit put in your heart, which is exactly what God wants us to do...listen and obey. Your daughter will forever remember that you are a hero.

Traci said...

Well first- the baseball bat is genius- there is nothing scarier than a woman wielding a bat, but seriously- as scared as she was yesterday she learned a really important lesson about strength and doing the right thing even when it's hard and you could have driven off with her if it got really scary. You did a good thing- you showed two women strength and Jesus's love yesterday- well done good and faithful servant.

Henley on the Horn said...

I would have been so scared, but you did the right thing. I told my husband the story, and he immediately said, "She did the right thing. When the Holy Spirit lives in you and He prompts you, you have to obey". You taught Sadie a lesson in obedience today. I am thankful you were protected. It is true that in hindsight you can see the ways he could have hurt you. Thankfully the Lord protected you. Because of your obedience, I was obedient tonight in our local grocery store. I am going to share the story on my blog, and I am going to link it to you. You inspired me to OBEY and listen to the words the Lord placed on my heart. Thank you. I was able to let a very sick girl know that she is very loved by a great big God. Thank you, Melissa. Without your story today, I probably would have let her get away!

LoLa said...

Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap! Nice work.

Carlee said...

Darius and Dea have it right! What are you thinking not carrying a bat with you?!

Okay, in all seriousness though, good work. It is never wrong to stop someone from getting hurt. Sometimes maybe our kids even...gulp....need to see that the world is not all pretty so that they see the need for God.

You rock, and God was with you!

Lisa said...

John sleeps with a bat under the bed and has always been convinced that a bat is the best protection! I pray that I would have done the same thing! Can you imagine what that poor lady deals with in private if her abuser was dealing with her that way in public? This world needs Jesus! You are pointing this dark world to Him every step of the way as you live a spirit filled life! Be encouraged.

Jennifer said...

I'm not sure I'd do what Darius and Dea suggest, but wouldn't THAT be a great way to take care of business!

Krista said...

you definitely did the right thing - and as well as helping that woman, you showed your daughter how to do the right thing.

Becca said...

Oh my word. you definitely did the right thing. I saw that dateline too and hoped I would help - but I just never know. My hubby and I often talk about the same thing about our daughter because we want to move into the 'hood.

Sarah said...

I showed this post to my husband, and he immediately said, "Why does everything happen to this woman?" :-) lol
I pray that I would have the courage to do the same thing. It is true that we, as Christians, ought to be the most compassionate! But we hide behind many excuses...
I do see your point about our children's safety though. I think that is where we need to trust that God will bless us for our compassion, and protect our children in the process.
Your big boys crack me up!!!!!

Audrey said...

What a great example you were to Sadie. Had you just driven off that would have modeled something entirely different to her. Instead you showed her that sometimes doing the right thing can be scary but that shouldn't stop us, should it? High five mom!

Holli said...

I don't even know how I would react.... but I know that you reacted the way God would want you too.
I am so glad I have hope after this life.....I will pray for the lady (and the man with clenched teeth) that they will find the TRUE hope too....
I do think the baseball bat might help you out;)