I missed my train. It rarely ever happens, and it wouldn’t have today save they were doing work on the usual eastbound track and had to switch to the other side not leaving me any time or space to make it with one minute remaining. I won’t lie, I cursed a little and then walked over to my favorite little hole in the wall diner where they know me by name, ask how El’s doing and pour me a cup of very, very dark coffee at the counter. I dawdled for a little less than an hour, musing in silent prayer that I’m sure there was a reason why I had to miss this particular train before deciding to get going a bit early to stand outside on the RIGHT side of the track, sure not to miss it this time.
I saw a middle-aged man sitting across the track from me on a bench, but as my vision was obstructed by the fence that runs between the two tracks, I didn’t give him much notice. Everything was so quiet today. Eerily so, as the weather shifted and I scrolled through screens of Facebook updates and Instagram photos of other people who actually made it to their jobs today, and on time, too! I heard a shout, an unnerving one and I did my best to ignore it at first. Being a woman, alone, from New Jersey, working in NYC, my world is full of unwelcome, mostly unnecessary shouting. You learn to keep your head down, mind your business, walk forward quickly and hold your keys.
But there was something different about this shout and fear spread cold in my stomach as I bargained with God- please not me. Not me. I’m afraid. I am the only one here. I am not the right one for something like this. And I heard in my heart a clear, simple “For such a time as this.”
I looked up to see only the man’s shoes from beneath the fence, laying on the platform and I went running, dialing 911 on my way. When I got there he was unresponsive, bleeding heavily from the mouth, waking in fits and starts grasping for a hand, afraid. He couldn’t speak through the blood pooling, couldn’t remember his name. And as I sat there next to him on the phone with the dispatcher waiting for the ambulance to arrive I prayed for his heart, for his pain, for his family if he had one. I couldn’t say anything other than the assurance that he would be just fine. I just repeated it over and over, speaking it into existence for him and for me. The paramedics arrived quickly, I was pushed aside and he was whisked away without me ever finding out if he would be alright.
The entire experience left me shattered today. Wondering if he made it or not. What if I was one minute too late? What if my 20 second inner wrestle with my fear was 20 seconds too long? I see his face when I close my eyes; his panic, his confusion, his blood and I think, I was not the one for this. I was not the right one.
And then my husband greets me at the door and holds me as I cry and I remember a quiet Jewish woman who saved a people as Queen and a small shepherd who defeated a Giant and a baby in a basket and the Father of Nations and I know for sure that I was not the right one on my own.
But I am His.
And He is always the Right One.