Stan has to decide [Jesus Praise entry for 10/2018]
"The time has come to make a choice." The words echoed in Stan's mind, as he recalled a sermon from years past. He had occasionally wondered what he would do, if he had to choose. Now, he did.
Stan Ronson had led a chaotic life. Crippled in the same train crash that orphaned him, he had spent his early and middle childhood years in various orphanages. Life had been a constant torment as, cruel as only young children can be, his fellow orphans had seldom passed up an opportunity to taunt and harass him.
"What's the matter, Stan? Can't run any faster than that? You lose--again!"
"Hey, Stan! If you can pick up that quarter with your left hand, it's yours! Can't do it, huh? Too bad!"
His life had taken a merciful turn for the better when, still grieving after the loss of their own son to a hit-and-run driver, Walt and Emma Walker had taken him in. The Walkers had given him something he'd craved for years--simple acceptance--as well as an unexpected bonus: actual love and affection. They'd cared for him, as if he'd been theirs from birth.
He'd learned to accept that love, and to deal with the pain that was a near-constant reminder of his own loss. Middle school, high school and college were all completed in the small, western Pennsylvania town he called home. He could have attended college and gotten a job in nearby Pittsburgh, but had elected to stay local. The few friends he had were here, and his degree in Information Sciences and Technology allowed him to interact mostly with computers, rather than people.
Lately, Stan's pain level had been increasing, reaching the point at which it was almost debilitating. His doctor ran some tests, then told him it was likely nerve damage from the accident. He had recommended a private clinic in Pittsburgh, where cutting-edge research into slowing, and even reversing, some nerve damage was being done.
The visit been a total disappointment. After an exhaustive series of tests, Dr. Walmsley had told him that severe damage had already been done to the sheath around his spinal cord. Although his clinic was making great strides, there was nothing they could do for Stan at this time. He also told Stan the time would come, when the damage would likely cause major problems, potentially ending with his death. After absorbing this latest blow, Stan had returned home. His plan had been to close his bank account and then take the cross-country train trip he'd always wanted, before he was no longer able to enjoy it. That's why he'd been in the taxi, when it was t-boned by a large delivery truck.
The impact spun the cab and slammed it into a light pole which snapped and fell, knocking a young girl off the sidewalk and into the gutter. She landed on her side, her face dangerously close to the water running toward the storm drain. Even worse, her body was creating a dam and the resulting pool was expanding and deepening. The girl was in real danger of drowning.
Mesmerized by the totaled taxicab, none of the bystanders noticed the girl's plight. They were all staring at the wreck, wondering, perhaps, if anyone inside was injured. Stan was woozy, and he had a terrible headache. The driver wasn't moving, nor was he making any sounds. Stan couldn't tell, whether or not the man was even alive.
Stan felt that he ought to at least check on the driver, but the girl's predicament held his attention. Nobody else seemed to have noticed her. Watching the scene unfold, Stan had thought about his doctor's prognosis in light of that long-ago sermon. He thought about how he might yet survive to take his planned trip. In the end, he'd decided that there was no way he'd enjoy himself, if this little girl--who should be able to enjoy trips of her own someday--should die right in front of him.
Stan forced his door open and, weaving back and forth, made his way to the curb. He gently pulled the girl a little way into the street, just enough to reroute the water behind her, as a woman came racing from the adjacent parking lot.
"My baby! He saved my baby!" the relieved mother cried over and over. "He just stumbled out of the cab and pulled her away from the water. He's my hero, and nobody can tell me different!"