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The Door Was Open, But You Didn’t Respond!

door was open

The Door Was Open, But You Didn’t Respond!

 

Last Saturday was one of those rare Michigan November days.  The temperature hit the mid-sixties, t-shirts were the clothing of choice and although screens have been traded for glass, I just had to leave the door wide open to enjoy the sun.  A friend dropped by and we were sitting in the kitchen catching up on all the exciting news of both families.  It had the makings of a great day!  Directly across the street, however, the picture book day had turned into a nightmare.

Anna (name changed) had gotten out of bed, lingered over a cup of coffee and then stepped in the shower later than usual.  Her husband who has been on oxygen for the past several years was in the other bathroom.  When Anna finally finished getting dressed, she noticed that her husband still had not come out of the bathroom. She knocked and asked, “Are you ok in there?”  When there was no answer, she opened the door and realized she needed help.  She called 911 and ran out to the driveway, screaming, “Help, please somebody, Help!”  No one heard, no one responded, no one came!

Steve and his friend came back after moving a refrigerator and mentioned that there was an ambulance and 2 police cars across the street.  Feeling I would be in the way by going over, I watched from a window as the ambulance left; empty. Eventually a black Cadillac backed up to the garage.  Soon the driveway was full of cars and I felt uncomfortable intruding.  On Sunday, I had my two grandsons all day and I was too busy to see if I could be of assistance.  Finally on Monday, I felt a real urging from the Holy Ghost to at least go over and offer my condolences.  At noon, I left Steve with the two babies and walked the few steps across the street to knock on the door.  I held Anna as she broke down and sobbed.  Her words smote my heart, “I screamed for help and nobody came; I screamed for help and your door was open but you didn’t respond!”  I explained that I was in the back, that I was so sorry and wish I had heard, but the fact is my door was open and I didn’t respond. This week, I have tried to be there for Anna and her family.  I cooked dinner for them on Tuesday and spent the day Wednesday at her home setting up all the food for the funeral, keeping things replenished and cleaning up after.  They have been very grateful but the fact remains, I was so preoccupied that although my door was open, I didn’t hear her cry for help.

Several years ago, we moved into a house by a railroad track.  For the first few nights it was very difficult to sleep.  I heard the whistle of the train at 11:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 a.m. After about a week, the whistle didn’t even register and I was able to sleep straight through the night without being disturbed.  How many times have I been so caught up with the “important” things in my life that, like the familiar whistle of the train, my mind fails to register a plea for help?  I pray to be more “Spiritually Sensitive,” yet I fear that I have become so desensitized to the cries of hurting people that the sounds just become part of the background noise of life. The doorway of truth is wide open, yet I am so distracted that the desperate cries of my friends and neighbors stumbling in darkness never reach my ears.  Dear God, give me a greater awareness and sensitivity to the distress signals of the hurting souls in my world.  I never again want to hear the words, “I screamed for help, your door was open, but you didn’t respond.”

 

About the author

Susan Niswonger

I am a Home Missions Pastor's wife. I have been married to the most wonderful, Godly man in the world for 33 years. We have 2 sons, 2 grandson and 3 granddaughters. 42 years ago, at the age of 9, I was baptized in Jesus Name and received the Holy Ghost. It gets better every day.