Yesterday on my drive home after collecting Caleb from school, I saw a rabbit lying on the grass on the side of the road - I am unsure as to whether it was injured or not, so I wanted to stop and pick it up and take it to the Vet - I wanted to make sure that it wasn't injured and to ensure that it was not hit by a vehicle as this is a busy stretch of road.
To my shame I did not stop.. and I have been feeling guilty eversince! Anybody who knows me knows that I always stop if I see someone (be they human or animal) in trouble on the roads. Actually, let me correct that.. I used to stop, before I had my boys.. now I don't stop. Why you may ask?
Well I don't stop because it is not safe - I live in one of the most dangerous cities in the world and so it would be silly of me to put my sons safety at risk for an animal or a stranger!
Last year my neighbour was shot outside his home at about 20H00 on a Sunday evening. It was a high-jacking and the robbers threw my neighbour and his wife on the ground, and then shot him while he lay helpless on the ground - after he had handed over his car. I clearly remember sitting in our study and hearing our neighbour screaming and then hearing the gunshots! And what did I do to help my neighbour? Absolutely nothing - except for calling emergency services that is.
And the worst part of it is that if it happened again, I would react in exactly the same way. Does that make me a coward? Possibly! But it also makes me a mother who puts her family first. All I could think about on that night after hearing the gunshots was, "what if they are coming over my wall right now, and the minute I open the door they will be inside.. with a gun" My sweet Caleb was only two at the time - if something happened to him, I would never forgive myself. As his mother, it is my duty to put him first, because if we as parents don't, then who will?
Having said all that, it makes me very sad that I am unable to help a person or animal in need just because I am frightened of my fellow man.