When I was 14, I was in a sledding accident while on a Girl Scout outing in my home state of Minnesota. I was on a winter retreat with my scout troop at a location on one of our many lakes.
That Friday evening our advisors were ever vigilant, doing grown-up stuff listening to the radio about an upcoming ice storm. As our leaders listened to the weather, they decided it would be prudent to take the cars up the hill, from the cottage, just in case they couldn’t get them out the following day – so that is what they did.
In my mind that made our sledding activities better — taking away all obstacles at the bottom of the hill, allowing for smooth snow sailing late into the night — it was glorious.
The following morning, we Scouts were thrilled to see our sledding hill was covered with a sheet of ice and a thin covering of frosty snow – we were truly in a winter wonderland.
After our morning obligations were completed, we were at liberty to take our breaks and enjoy ourselves. My buddy Gail and I geared up and outward we went to meet this wintry paradise.
I was designated that morning to be the glider guide and Gail was the second in command on top of me, loading the sled down as a double-decker. We sailed and whizzed down that hill several times with shear delight, it was unbelievably scary as we raced down that hill and screamed.
Our last run ended with Gail flying through the air after we hit a fence post with my body wrapping around it with a thud, a thud that took my breath away, a thud that ruptured my spleen and punctured my diaphragm.
I got up from that crash and Gail and I walked to the cottage. We were met by one of our leaders, who happened to be an RN. She took one look at me and knew I was in trouble.
After taking care of my immediate needs, and making some phone calls, this troupe of girls and women went into LEADERSHIP mode. While Someone sat with me, they took a door off its hinges, got several sleeping bags together and gathered pillows to load me up on this makeshift wooden door gurney.
The sled became my life jacket as this team pulled and pushed me up that ice packed hill. They then lifted me, door and all and loaded me in the back of a station wagon to get me to a place where I could be helped. I think of this event often.
This group was prepared. There were no debates, no hidden agendas — just God’s children working together to assist one that was hurt. They lived into our motto that weekend: Be prepared and be ready to help where needed.
When I think of this event in my life I think of the group of people in scripture who carried a man on a pallet, making their way toward Jesus, “Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2: 1-5.
These individuals were prepared to seek the greatest kind of healing for their friend – they had his best interest in mind.
There are two guiding principles in my life, they are to love God and love my neighbor. Whenever things get blurry for me, and lately there has been a lot of blur, I am called back to these two commandments.
Actions truly do speak louder than words – and “Jesus saw their faith and the man was healed”.
What are the ways God is calling you into loving action?
Nancy McCormick is Co-Pastor of Chester Friends and Springfield Friends Meetings.