(Click the photo for the link to the essay by Parker Palmer that inspired this story telling)
Last fall Leah and I were headed to Moab for one of our frequent mountain biking pilgrimages when we came across a bad car accident. An elderly couple had lost control of their truck and 5th wheel trailer and had rolled it onto its side. The man was relatively unscathed and had been able to get himself out of the truck, but his wife was pinned, upside down and injured in the truck. We were passing before the fire department or ambulance arrived so we stopped to help. Leah is a nurse, but the capacity this scene requested of her was her compassion and presence with another person in their time of need. Leah received an award from the husband and wife at the hospital where she works for the time she spent with this man as he waited for the fire department to extricate his wife, load her in a helicopter and fly her to a trauma center. As people busied themselves cutting cars, rendering medical care, making a landing zone for the helicopter and mitigating hazards of spilled fuel, Leah sat patiently with this man and bore witness to this very difficult time in his life. That is the thing that this man remembered most given all that was done that day. He and his wife walked out of the hospital together. I am proud to walk with this beautiful person in my life who reminds me that the single most important thing I can do in a day is to embrace and connect with the people I meet.