Tuesday, September 05, 2006


If you were to ask me if I think I'm Superwoman, I would say no. But if you were to observe me in day to day activities, you would still wonder if I really believed I were her. Sometimes I see a situation and feel compelled to jump in to try to help. The inner Superwoman in me can't sit by and watch things happen that could be avoided or fixed.

I have a friend who is a chiropractor. To be a chiropractor he had to go to medical school. Although he didn't actually practice as a physician, he still has some of that training. One day he and I were talking. He said that he has a hard time helping with emergencies. He said that if he is in a room of people, and someone has a heart attack, he always waits just a moment to see if there is another doctor in the room before he himself goes to help. I told him I am just the opposite. I don't have much medical training. I did take a first aid class in college, but I wouldn't consider myself to be really trained. But if I am in a room of people, and someone is hurt, I am one of the first to jump in and try to help.

It's not just with health related things either. The other day I was dropping my daughter off at the airport. My husband decided to circle around instead of paying the high parking fees. I was waiting for him to circle back around when I over heard a conversation nearby. A man was talking on the phone and I heard him tell his wife that he was waiting for her to come pick him up, and he didn't understand why she hadn't seen him at the curb already. He said very clearly, "I'm at Delta airlines...terminal one!" I couldn't help myself....Superwoman took over inside me and I approached him and said, "This is terminal two.". He thanked me and told his wife he was at terminal two, not one. I stood there uncomfortably wondering if he thought I was horrible for eavesdropping. But when he went to leave, he thanked me again for correcting him.

Another example: Recently we were traveling in Taiwan. We were taking a train to a nearby city, but found it a little difficult to board because the step up was too high. After we climbed up, I noticed an older man trying to get on. I mentioned to my husband that we should help him. He thought I was just interfereing and was embarassed that I would make a huge issue out of it. But I could see the man struggling, and I felt there was no way he was going to be able to get up that step. I reached down to grab his hand. My husband was embarassed and said, "He can do it himself." I turned to him and said, "Will you let me do a good deed?". I think that brought him back to reality so he quieted down. I reached again for the old man and he willingly grabbed my hand and I pulled him up. He thanked me for helping him. I wonder....could he have gotten up by himself? Was Superwoman just too tired of being cooped up?

I remember an experience I had as a missionary. We were riding our bikes in the rain one night when I saw a Vespa slide and crash on the street. I quickly rode over to try to help. The man was breathing, but he was unconscious. I didn't know what to do, but the superwoman in me was determined to help. I unsnapped the top button of his coat so he could breathe easier. I pulled off my glove and put it under his head to cushion him from the hard pavement. A taxi drive pulled up to see if he could help. I had only been on island about 2 months, so didn't speak very good chinese. The only thing I could think to say was, "Go call on the phone". I didn't even know how to say hospital or doctor. He got the message though and left quickly to call an ambulance. Meanwhile, I wondered if there was something more I should be doing. I prayed to know what I should do. An impression came to me that I should rub his back. I felt kind of silly, but I did it, and told him in my halting chinese to not be afraid. Now here is the ironic part. Soon an ambulance came and the attendants jumped out. One of them grabbed an arm, one grabbed a leg, and they swung him up on to a gurney. I was a little miffed because I had been so careful with him. Maybe their inner Superman was on vacation.

I'm not sure that my efforts are always appreciated. I'm not sure they are always helpful. Maybe I am doing more harm than good in some circumstances. But for some reason, I can't seem to tame the superwoman inside. So I'll just have to keep picking up things people on the street drop as they pass me, and run to chase them down. I'll have to follow a lost child in the store until they find their mother. I'll pray for the house painter as I pass by and see him up on a precariiously tall ladder. I'll help the little old lady cross the street. Wait! Maybe it was an inner girl scout after all!

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