The Follow Up

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend a Phil Wickham concert. I’ve seen him live before but this time it was amazing! It was so much fun and I got to experience it with my sister and some friends so that made it even better. We took the train back home and had the most uncanny train ride I’ve ever experienced. Seriously. There were a lot of crazy things that happened that night, but I’ll just write (and think) about the most memorable one for me.

After we took our seats on the train, a young-ish guy came up and asked me if the seat next to me was open, to which I replied yes (he actually asked did I mind if he sat there to which I replied yes but I meant no because that question always confuses me). We were sitting in the handicap accessible part of the train for a few reasons (one of which relates to some of the other crazy things that happened that night) so there were a few other people around us. In any case, the guy who sat next to me was visibly drunk but he seemed pretty nice and harmless so it was fine. He was also fairly coherent. 

As time went on, the guy realized he should call his family but his phone had died. Mine was dead too so I couldn’t lend it to him but fortunately my sister’s phone still had some juice. He called his mom and girlfriend and told them he’d be home soon. Little did we know, the train we were on was an express train and so it skipped his stop. When he realized he missed it he hopped off at the next stop planning to find a payphone a get a ride. 

That was the last we saw of him that night. Still, I couldn’t help but worry when I saw him hop off the train. When we finally arrived at our stop we waited for our dad to pick us up. While we were waiting, my sister got a call from the number the train guy had called. She didn’t know what to do so she didn’t answer but I took the phone from her to call them back since they were probably just calling to ask about their brother/son/friend. When I spoke to the woman on the other line I found out I was right. His mom was pretty worried and she was calling to see if I knew what had happened to him. I told her he had gotten off the train a few stops ago and he had told us he was going to find a payphone. I know that didn’t ease her worries much but she thanked me for calling back and that was all.

The next day, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. My sister and I talked about it and we didn’t know exactly what to do. We prayed for him and his family and hoped for the best. Secretly, I copied down the number that called us with the intention to follow-up but I was having mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I felt compelled to call or text and ask if everything worked out but I had an equally strong feeling that that might not be the right approach and I might not be doing it for the right reasons. 

So I was left with two strong feelings and here’s how they play out in my mind. After telling my family the story they’ve told me ‘he’s not your responsibility’. That seems like a true statement but then when do we decide when someone is our responsibility? Am I only responsible for family and friends? If so, then what do we do with the parable of the Good Samaritan?

But then again, I’m also reminded of the encounter in Acts. That moment when you give someone all you can and the rest is up to God. Or the fact that after Peter and John healed the beggar, there was no follow-up. They didn’t make sure he could find a house or a job or a wife, they just went along, trusting that everything would work out the way it should. I don’t think it’s an exact comparison, but it is a passage that’s been cycling through my mind these past few days.

It may be too late to call the number or it may not. I honestly don’t know. Admittedly, I don’t think I should. I don’t think I’m supposed to. I realize that my desire to call stems as much from guilt – the idea that I could’ve done more or said more – as it does from genuine concern. 

Still, it’s something I can’t help thinking about.

 

Sanguine Christi,

DJP

P.S. I say the guy is young-ish because he looked at least 30 but he turned out to be 20. That made me even more worried knowing that he was so young. 

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