Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Neighbor Jerry

What was that? Wiping the sleep from my eyes; the clock reflected 3:10 am.
Honk – Honk
Peering out my bedroom window, there not ten feet away on my front lawn was Jerry honking his horn. I flew out of bed, threw on my jeans and hurried out to see what could be the trouble.
Jerry was my next door neighbor and also paralyzed. He was a big man over 300lbs and normally very self-sufficient but when he was in trouble he depended on me.
Hurrying up to his car “What’s wrong Jerry?”
“I need your help – I stopped to help a lady who broke down on the freeway and she has a flat tire; you can come change it!”
I am still to this day a pretty selfish individual, you can scoff, but I have improved. Therefore, maybe you can imagine the feelings accompanying my grumble, “Jerry, its 3:00 in the morning… why are you stopping to help someone in the first place? You shouldn’t be doing that?” Giving Jerry a lecture on not helping was motivated not so much by my concern for Jerry’s well being – I just wanted to go back to bed.
“God told me too help her. Can we go? The lady is waiting. You were only sleeping.”
Hmmm…is that what I was doing? “Let me get my shoes,” – what could I do? - his car was sitting on my front lawn with his head lights on, it wasn’t like he was going to go away.
Jerry was always doing this, stopping and helping people. He used to tell me that God talked to him and God would often tell him to slow down because around the next corner someone would need his help. And, sure enough inevitably there was someone who had run out of gas or had some other need. Jerry always kept a couple of gallons of gas in his trunk just so he was prepared when God sent him on an errand. Sometimes it took a bit of convincing the person in need it was safe to approach his car, take his car keys and get the gasoline out of his trunk. Even today I am baffled by the whole scenario.
Well, I loaded my jack, a few tools and followed him down in my truck. Some might wonder why I drove – I could have ridden with Jerry I guess but under the guise of needing my own tools I avoided being stuck with him in his car. Jerry at times didn’t smell too good. More than once I came to help him because his catheter had leaked urine all over his pant leg and carpet. I know, I know – I ‘m not all that proud about those feelings and motives either, but it’s just the truth.
There it was just as he described an older Oldsmobile – a massive boat of a car and the rear tire on the passenger side flat as you please. I was beginning to wake up now and my mood had improved considerably. While I changed the tire – I am pretty sure Jerry was telling the lady about Jesus.
Over the years I listened to many stories of Jerry helping people stranded alongside the freeway.
About fifteen years ago I went by to visit Jerry. I had move 5 years earlier and I wondered how he was doing. A lady answered the door. She told me Jerry had died. As we talked it came clear she was one of those Jerry had helped. She had come to stay with him when she needed a place to stay. In his passing Jerry had willed his house to her.
The lesson - Maybe it is this: We can help someone even though others are more capable. All the cars that streaked past those stranded could of stopped and helped but it was a man in a wheel chair who stopped. Lesson #2 - Maybe to help, our schedules need to be a bit less important.

18 comments:

MA Fat Woman said...

What a wonderful story. The world needs a lot more Jerrys!

Karthik said...

Jerry? Where was Tom in the story? :) Just kidding.. :)
Jerry seemed like a noble soul. A soul searching post. Thanks.

Debra said...

We need a lot more Jerry's in this world, and a few more GQ's too! What a nice story.

Arkansas Patti said...

Wonderful story. We do need more Jerry's in this world as long as they have a willing GQ to do the heavy lifting. Way to go Grayquill.

Grayquill said...

MA: Thanks for reading my rendition of Jerry – he for sure a special man

Karthik: Thank you - Did your soul discover anything?

Debra: Thank you – always the encourager

Arkansas Patti: Jerry for sure had no trouble recruiting. He was a bold man.

blunt edges said...

beautiful!

glad u went out that night with jerry!

Ashley said...

Wow! Is this story true? Jerry sounds like an angel...

I felt like I was reading one of the "Chicken Soup" editions.....

Grayquill said...

Blunt Edges: Hey – I didn’t have a choice – Jerry was someone you didn’t argue with. But – thank you!

Ashley: True story – he was no angel. Jerry had his dark side just like the rest of us but he did have a good sense of purpose. He was an amazing person.

Anita :) said...

Well, this story is too good to be true. It took a handicapped person to help someone in need, that too at 3:00 a.m ...how many of us would ever do that.. How many would trust the needy person blindly before offering help? How many would wake up at such an unearthly hour to help a neighbour who in turn wants to help a third person who is a total stranger to both of them?
Jerry must've joined the angels in heaven now..for the good heart uncomparable... but I guess you are the hero of the story here.

Valerie said...

Hi, I popped in from somewhere or other and read your story about Jerry. It was an inspired account of the better side of mankind. Thank you for sharing, I loved it.

The Survivor said...

Jerry sure sounds like a angel to people in trouble. May God bless his soul.

The irony of today's times is that we can all make a difference but seldom we do that!

Hilary said...

Jerry may not have had a set of working legs but no doubt his heart had wings. Lovely story and so nice of you to share Jerry with us in this way.

Grayquill said...

Anita: One of my cousins said to me once – “I just take advantage of opportunities as they appear.” Jerry watched for opportunities – I know for myself I watch out for myself more than I would like. Opportunities are all around me but I either don’t want to be late or I just don’t want to be troubled.

Valerie: I am glad you popped in – Thank you for your kind words!

The Survivor: He suffered greatly; his story is a painful one. Maybe it’s the suffering that is the ingredient to understand another’s pain and put others above ourselves. We all have pain and suffering – may our pain end up being useful.

Hilary: You sure have a gift with words. Thank you.

Cheffie-Mom said...

I'm sure Jerry is still helping people today -- a Guardian Angel. This is a wonderful post. Congrats on the POTW Award!!

Brian Miller said...

wow. that was an incredible post. jerry sounds like a great guy and someone we can all learn from. congrats on the POTW!

Dianne said...

I love how you always do the right thing Roadquill, although you will fight it and deny it

bless Jerry, what a sweet soul

Grayquill said...

Cheffie-Mom: Thank you for the congrats. Jerry for sure would not refuse wings.

Brian: Thank you for the kind words and the congrats. Jerry was a great guy and a man who understood who he was in relationship to his God. He always challenged me to be more than I was.

Dianne: Always do right? Hah! I rarely do anything right. Spend five minutes with my wife and you will know the truth. You see I have the great advantage of choosing what I will show. My courage meter also sets a limit on what is exposed. I am fairly spineless. But, thank you for always being so nice. You are a great encourager and appreciated!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Most enjoyable read. Never know who we encounter that will teach us about life. Congrats on the POTW. Well earned.