The Siren’s Song

Just a bit ago, I was fixing some toast in the kitchen and heard the distinctive siren of an ambulance as it sped by our home. Our street is not a main thoroughfare, so that in itself was pretty unusual. That sound always gives me pause, and of course it raises my curiosity – what if it’s heading to the home of someone I know? We have several elderly neighbors on this street, and the possibility of one of them being in need of an ambulance troubles me.

This time, though, the ambulance pulled into the gradeschool parking lot behind our house. It was followed by a firetruck. The school parking lot and adjacent running track/field often serves as a landing pad for the medflight helicopters, so it was hard to tell why the vehicles were parked there – for the school, or for a pickup. I’ve not heard any helicopter approach, so I assume it was for someone at the school.

What struck me about all of this today was the child, a little girl. She and her mother happened to be walking out of the school building when I peeped out the window of our back door. Mom was holding the girl’s hand with one hand and carrying some sort of bundle (maybe a younger sibling?) in the other, and walking. The girl, maybe six years old or so, was skipping. She was eyeing the big emergency vehicles and skipping happily along. To her, it was hubbub and excitement – the flashing lights, the wailing sirens, the uniformed drivers! To someone else, there in the school, it might have been life or death.

I looked back at the mom and wondered if she was, at that moment, thinking about how lucky she is to have her girl skipping by her side? Did she make the connection that, were it not for circumstance, it could have been her child the ambulance was there to aid? I hope so, and I hope it made thankfulness well up in her heart for the blessings in her life. For some reason, it reminded me of this passage from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.

“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”

Seeing the ambulance made me think about how fragile our lives really are, and turned my thoughts toward thankfulness to Him who loves and keeps us.

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