Perfect Strangers

The phone rang and in an instant our lives changed. While I forget many ordinary tasks I perform during the day, I will never forget what I was doing when my son called me on his cell at 8:33 a.m. to tell me that his older brother collided with a vehicle while they both were on an early morning bicycle ride. I was braiding my daughter’s hair. I left her sitting with a half braid and rushed to the accident, only three miles from our house.

First responders were already attending to my son. A pastor, a witness to the accident, grabbed me aside and told me what had happened. Police was already there and a helicopter had been called. Minutes later, I found my self on that helicopter accompanying my firstborn to a nearby trauma center. His condition had drastically deteriorated due to his severe lung injuries.

Ten days in ICU and sitting in a hospital room has put many things in perspective for me. Gratefulness floods my heart as I think of all the people who have suddenly become part our lives. Once strangers, this event has catapulted them into our new normal. I think of them often. I pray for them. I ponder about the powerful role they have played in the unfolding of this unfortunate event. Some were so important, that without them, Corey would not be here today.

I think of the pastor, a stranger to me who happened to be at the accident and greeted me. He had already prayed for both of my sons before I arrived, and continued to do so as the medical team did their work, while my own mind was unable to form thoughts much less a prayer. I will never forget his gentle touch on my shoulder, how I felt the Spirit calming my heart as he spoke a gentle, but a powerful prayer over the entire situation.

I think of the first responder, who knew what she needed to do, mainly call for a flight-for-life. She had the wisdom and knowledge that was needed to assess the situation perfectly. Fortunately, I don’t have to imagine what would have happened without her quick decision making abilities.

I think of the flight nurses, who knew what needed to be done. Their calm demeanor settled our hearts and racing minds with peace and hope.

I think of the surgeon, doctors, and ICU nurses, who gently cared for my son, while we sat in a chair waiting for lungs to heal. Their kind care, when we could do nothing for him, comforted us and helped us in so many ways.

I think of so many strangers who prayed for Corey and our family, people we don’t even know, even now, two weeks after this accident.

I think of the many strangers surrounding me all day everywhere I go, in the grocery store and the restaurant. I wonder about their story or where their paths lead. I wonder if these paths eventually cross with mine. I wonder if I should treat them kinder, more intentional. I wonder if God jars our awareness at at times with these events to show us how much we need one another.

We play important roles in each others’ lives, sometimes vital roles. When those complete strangers step into our lives and fill those roles, they indeed become the perfect strangers.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me”
Jesus’ Words in Matthew 25:35


(Devotional and pictures by Heidi Viars, August 2014)

20 responses to “Perfect Strangers”

  1. Wow, a witness to the accident was a pastor! God is awesome. Yes, I too wonder about the folks we pass by each day. The cashier who rings up my groceries, the bagger whom I have to tip because I bought too much…Did God put them especially in front of me to be a part of my day? I think about those things too. Wonderful post, Heidi!


  2. Your story tells us why it is so important to be connected to our community. We give, but sometimes we receive. I will pray for your son’s healing. Blessings to you


  3. Beautiful post! My prayers are with you and your family because that must still be painful. It is wonderful to see the worth of everyone around us.


  4. Heidi, what a beautiful and powerful post! We go through our everyday lives focused on our agenda and the people who are within our agenda. Our loving Father brings strangers into our lives at just the perfect time. Those loving strangers go from being strangers to friends and family. His timing of bringing these people is always perfect because it is always His. What an amazing testimony for you to recognize His hand even in the hardest of times. I believe the Lord put each of those strangers in place at the perfect time to minister to you and your son. What a loving Father to provide you with a pastor who was already praying when you arrived and was able to pass on a little peace. Praying for you and your family. Thanks for sharing your story!


    1. There is an incredible awareness of how we are knit together as humanity, how God has ordained us to love one another and how He is glorified through the works of the Church.
      This ordeal has also shown me what the Church really is. It’s God’s people showing kindness to God’s children and strangers.
      Thank you for blessing me with your comment and words of encouragement. Sending much love in His name 🙂


  5. I just keep crying as I read this. . .not bad tears, but overcome with how He loves us and works in our lives and sends us perfect strangers. I keep thinking about there being a pastor there, Heidi, praying and speaking hope and comfort over you and your sons. Thank you for ministering to us at such a time as this. God bless you!


    1. Oh Debbie, thank you so much for loving us with your kind comment! God indeed has worked in all these things and has loved us through the kindness of the Church. Sending much love your way!


  6. Dearest Heidi, I am so very sorry that I have missed this terrible trial that you and your family have been enduring … once again your posts have not been coming through to me ??? but you have been in my prayers and your precious name came to me this morning also (there is nothing the Lord doesn’t know). May He take your entire family and tenderly wrap each of you in His protective, loving, healing arms … may He fill you with the knowledge that He is a very present help in time of need, to which you have beautifully just testified. Sending much love and blessings xxxx


    1. Dearest Liana, THANK YOU so much for your prayers. I am so excited today. Corey is coming home (after 2 weeks and one day in the hospital). I finally slept home yesterday and sense God’s amazing provisions for us in and through all of this. He is so good. He never leaves nor forsakes us and His promises stand!!!!
      Sending much love your way, sister!


      1. Joy shared with you dear Heidi … praise God for the miracle in Corey’s life … may the blessings flow through him unto others. May they see the hand of God upon his life … {hugs} xxx


  7. Heidi I am so glad your son is okay and this perspective is remarkable and beautiful, especially after all you have been through recently. This pulled at my heartstrings a bit because of what my Husband went through 11 years ago with his motorcycle accident. Flight for Life flew him to the hospital and he literally died twice. While I wasn’t a part of his life at that point, I am SO grateful for the perfect strangers that were there because he wouldn’t be here today without them. He’s here and we have each other and our miracle child, by God’s pure grace.

    God has wonderful plans for your son and your entire family Heidi! Sending you hugs and praising God for how He places just the right people in our paths at just the right time.


    1. Thank you so much, Hannah. You inspire me and are also a “perfect stranger” to me. We impact each others’ lives in so many ways. I am so grateful for you and your husband’s story. What grace we can find, what peace God gives, even in circumstances many say are less than fortunate. He is in control and and He loves us.
      Blessings to you, dear blogging friend. I pray God will continue to use you mightily as you serve Him and your family, especially your husband … he is a blessed man 🙂
      Much love your way!


  8. Wow, such a powerful post, Heidi! The title is “perfect.” Watching the news every night, we can get the idea that there are so many bad people in the world, but posts like this remind me that most people are still good and kind.


    1. You know, Bill, I have not watched news in a very long time 🙂 .
      There are so many good and kind people everywhere.

      Have you heard of Ann Voskamp? She wrote a book entitled “1,000 gifts”. As I was working through her devotional with that name, God strongly impressed on my heart to find 100 strangers who have affected us in these past two weeks since the accident. I am blown away by the Holy Spirit, as He reveals to me how much kindness has been shown to us by complete (and perfect :-)) strangers. It has so filled my heart and am thinking about writing little stories about each one and how God allowed them to become really important in our lives. They were God sent to spent a little time with us on this journey. Bill, God is so good. Not because He gives us what our heart desires, but His very nature and essence is absolutely good, all the time. We can trust that He works all things out for good. Blessings to you, dear dear brother. Praying for you today.


  9. The paragraph expressing wonder concerning the paths of others reminds me of a video that shows thought bubbles as the camera ‘meets’ people. We just never know what people may be going through, both joys and sorrows. We do need each other. Thank you for the reminder to be more intentional and attentive. Praying still for healing and continued opportunities to sing God’s praises.


    1. Dearest Rene, thank you so much for being there (and reading at Caring Bridge). You are a perfect stranger as well. I have never met you, but know that God has sent you to encourage our family and pray for my son’s healing. What a blessing, dear friend. I am learning what Church means and how God has knit us together, for His glory and our good! Sending you much love!


  10. I have a strong feeling you have been a perfect stranger to many, Heidi. A caring heart like yours cannot remain hidden; it needs to express itself! May you bask in the care of others, now, as God expresses his love and concern for you during this crisis. With Kathy above, I will continue to pray.


    1. Dearest Nancy, those are kind words and I hope that Christ would show in those encounters. Yes, God expresses His kindness in and through all of us who belong to Christ, for the sake of drawing people to Himself. He is so wonderful and our highest goal and main purpose. Let’s pray we see those strangers around us and point them to Christ. In doing so we make this life a purposeful journey … thank you for you prayers, dear blogging friend!


  11. So very grateful for God’s provision for your family. I will continue to pray for healing and strength for your son as well as blessing on your family as you draw closer to Him. Love in our Savior!


    1. God has poured His grace over us. We all are sensing such a marvelous closeness to Him … the Giver of life and breath and everything else. You have blessed me with your comment, dearest Kathie.


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