While walking my dog tonight, I walked past a house and heard a large tree limb crack over the driveway where the owners’ car was parked. I looked up in time to see the large limb sink about a foot or two, but not break completely or fall to the ground (or car). Immediately I went to the front door and surprised the owner who had his wife hold their dog while he peeked out the door like I was the boogeyman. When I told them what I just saw and heard and that they might want to check it out before it falls and hurts something, they were very grateful.
It was a simple gesture – the neighborly thing to do even though I don’t know them. It would have been so easy to not warn them and just keep on walking. Stopping and warning, however, was the kind thing to do. It’s what I hope someone would do if the same happened as they walked by my house.
The question immediately came to mind about how often we do or do not pause from our planned path to warn others of impending danger. Whether that danger is a bad business decision, a harmful relationship, a financial decision with little chance to turn out well, choices that threaten your health or career – whatever it may be – it is most likely the right thing to do to pause from our activity long enough to give a gentle warning or express concern. The intent isn’t to be bossy or control others’ lives, but to care about the welfare of those around us.
If we do that, we should also be open to the possibility that others might warn us from time to time. That’s probably harder to take than handing out warnings, but just as important.
Are there people around you at work, at home, at school, in your neighborhood or along your daily path that could use a cautionary word? Is there someone that has been trying to get you to listen to such a word from them?
Leap year lesson #175 is Take time to give and heed warnings.