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An opportunity missed in the Alaskan snow



By Charles Towne

We never know when our lives may impact others. People are watching us, listening to us. Are we living examples of God’s love?

There is an unwritten law in the far north that folks help one another in time of difficulty. Stranded in vehicles, people have died from exposure in the cold of an Alaskan winter, therefore when a stalled vehicle is spotted travelers usually go out of their way to render assistance.

My daughter Faith, and her husband Steve, who was working on the Alaskan pipeline at the time, along with another couple, had left Fairbanks, Alaska far behind and were on their way to Valdez to visit Faith’s Uncle, Milford Taylor whom she had never met.

Still several miles from Valdez they passed a red pick-up truck parked alongside the road with two men standing near it. “We should stop, see if they need help!” Steve suggested. But the others vigorously protested. After all, they didn’t know the men, and anything could happen way out there in the middle of nowhere. Outvoted and overruled, Steve continued driving, until several miles further down the two-lane road their car inexplicably died leaving them stranded in the bitterly cold Alaskan winter.

The men worked under the hood with no luck, achieving little more than frostbitten fingers while the girls shivered in the cold car that seemed to grow colder by the minute. A half hour passed and then an hour.

The situation was looking desperate when hope was aroused... for faintly in the distance a vehicle could be heard! Perhaps help was on the way!

Much to the traveler’s embarrassment that same red pick-up truck they had so callously passed earlier drew near; slowed and stopped. The two strangers insisted that the ladies sit in the warm cab of their truck while they worked on the stalled vehicle. Thanks to the good Samaritans it wasn’t long before the car was running again and they were on their way.

Steve drove in silence for a while before he said, “you know, it would have served us right if they hadn’t stopped. I don’t believe I have ever seen a more obvious case of Christianity in action, and we didn’t even get their names. The next time I see a stalled vehicle I’m going to stop and offer my help.”

Arriving in Valdez they soon found the Taylor’s address and pulled into the drive where they sat in stunned silence.

There, parked in the driveway, was a red pick-up truck. The very same red pick-up truck they had so callously passed earlier. Yes, the same red pick-up truck driven by the two men who had come to their rescue back on that cold stretch of Alaskan road.

At Faith’s somewhat tentative knock a man answered the door. Yes, you guessed it; it was their Good Samaritan, Faith’s uncle, Milford Taylor.

Coincidence you say. I wonder?

"And some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2.

And, "Whatsoever ye do to the least of these... ye do unto me." Matthew 25:45.

Dear God, please mold me into a vessel that can be used for your purpose. Please help me to be there for others. Help me to reach out when there is a need. As much as I hate to admit it, I am, by my very nature selfish, therefore you must be present in every portion of my life, every day of my life, and in every situation of my life. Over-rule the self-serving tendencies that have controlled me all my life. How many times have I rejected an opportunity to help one of your children when it just wasn’t… well… convenient? Help me to be like Jesus. Help me so that when others look into my eyes, they don’t see me, but they see Jesus in me. This is my prayer, and I ask it in the Blessed and Holy name of Jesus, Amen.

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

Charles Towne, Inspiration


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