R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful. Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. R. The Lord is kind and merciful. He pardons all your iniquities, heals all your ills, He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion.
Last fall, my 11-year-old son taught me the truth of this Psalm after being hit by a truck in a crosswalk.
Ryley had been bicycling to daycare from an after-school activity. He’d waited for the cross signal at the stoplight, then began to cross. He felt something strike his helmet, was knocked off his bike, and hit his head on the pavement.
We were lucky. He got up, dusted himself off, refused a ride from the truck’s driver as he’s not supposed to talk to strangers, and continued bicycling to daycare. Because nobody reported the incident to police at the time, we did so after picking him up.
When I heard the story, I was furious. I was angry at police because we had raised the issue of crosswalk safety a few months earlier when Ryley had a close call. I was mad at the driver for not seeing my child before turning through the crosswalk. Mostly, though, I was furious with myself for allowing my child to bicycle around town – potentially putting him at risk. As I ranted about this to my husband and son, Ryley had a different perspective.
“The important thing is that nobody was hurt,” he said. “In fact, we could use this to do some good. Maybe you could help me tell my story to some people to raise awareness about crosswalk safety.”
Subsequently, Ryley and I started a Facebook page; he shared his story on TV and in the newspaper as a way of urging drivers to be vigilant in crosswalks; he spoke at the City Council meeting about crosswalk safety and some opportunities in our community; and he spoke to elementary school students about ways kids can be safe in crosswalks.
As the Psalm says, the Lord truly does crown us with kindness and compassion, and pardons our iniquities. Sometimes He does this in ways we’d least expect – like our kids! I thank God that He not only protected Ryley, but also helped us make an awful incident into something positive for the community.
God, thank You for always understanding that we might not see the blessings You give us without help. Please enable us to view each situation as an opportunity to do Your work and spread the word about You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.