It is just over two weeks ago that I came downstairs to find this spectacular scene before me on our living room carpet. You would imagine that with a stain like this it would have been the very first thing that I noticed but amazingly enough it took me a good half hour before realising anything was amiss. The first room you go into when you come down our stairs is the kitchen and you have to walk past the kitchen and dining area to get to this spot in the picture. The sitting room curtains were drawn and all was darkness at that end of the house and I don’t usually get a moment until after my children have finished scoffing their porridge and toast to go and open the curtains.
On this particular occasion, as I was running a little late (er, lets make that very late actually), I scarpered off upstairs as soon as the dishwasher was stacked and asked my daughter to go and open the curtains for me. However, it was only a moment or two before I heard a little shriek and then heard her call to me, “Mummy, the dogs have killed something, come quickly.” My heart literally sank, what joyous news at 8.37am on a Monday morning!
So I hurried rather unexcitedly back down the stairs and entered our still rather dark sitting room and found a whole mass of blood stains smeared across the living room carpet. What I couldn’t find though was a reason for why this blood was here. The only thing to suggest any fowl play was a bloodied bag in the corner of the room. Now this really freaked me out. Scenes from the horror films I used to watch as a teenager started to flood my mind and my imagination took on a whole new idea of what could have happened in our lovely home the night before.
Normally I am a pretty gutsy lady but I’m not going to lie, I felt pretty nervous about entering the sitting room, in the dark, to go on a hunt. The only thing that stopped me from climbing on the couch to navigate the room from an elevated position was the fact that the kids were there, expectantly waiting for me to solve the puzzle. So I cautiously crept around the room, looking for a victim of some kind. Nothing. I could find absolutely nothing. So there was nothing for it other than to investigate the bloodied shopping bag. Bending down and grabbing hold of a corner, desperately praying that I wouldn’t find a bloodied finger or a hand inside it, I peered down, and there inside was a mulch of red gooey guts. I gagged involuntarily but bent closer, still trying to assess why this bag and its content would be in our house, when it started to dawn on me that these were in fact not gooey guts or bloodied entrails, but a rather large bag of red gooseberries picked from the garden that the night before I had taken from the freezer to defrost overnight. What relief! What joy I felt!
Now thankfully this is just a funny story made more dramatic by an over active imagination and a past love of horror films but the reality is, this picture really does look real. It could be a photo taken from a crime scene and taken out of context its chilling. Over the last couple of weeks I have pondered this story because of that very fact, the reason being, what would I do if this were real? If that was in fact the blood of someone who was hurt or injured, or who had been attacked, what would I do? What if it hadn’t been in my house, but in the street, what would I do then? Maybe its my growing age that makes me fret over such thoughts or maybe its because I am becoming so much more aware of the realities of the world around me. Either way, its important to me to face these questions, to dig deep and find out what kind of person I am and if I am happy with what I discover.
Then, one night, as I was drifting off to sleep a line from a song popped into my head. “Were you there, were you there?” It startled me awake because I recognised the line instantly. It was from a song we used to sing in assembly when I was little and occasionally at church too. I always loved this song and was delighted when we got to sing it because it filled me up with emotion and feelings.
“I was cold I was naked, were you there were you there, I was cold I was naked were you there.”
Everyone at school would always snigger at this line because of the word “naked” and it would make me so cross. I didn’t understand how they couldn’t, just for a moment, think about this poor person in the song who was cold and naked and alone. Who knew that even at the age of 7 years old a hunger for justice ached inside of me already?!
“And the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, were you there?”
What has helped me get to my answer about what I would do, is the fact that this picture has also made me think of something else. It made me think about the scene of Jesus’ beating and death. How His blood was spilled and shed for all to see. Our Pastor recently read out the story of Jesus’ death to us from the bible and as he read he stopped and explained each bit so that we could try and visualise what the scene must really have looked like. As I sat and listened tears streamed down my face. Never have I had such a strong reaction to the gospel in all my life. I wanted to jump up and say “I’m here, I’ll help”. But the fact is, no one could help Jesus that day, because by helping Him His whole purpose in coming to earth would have been defeated. We have to see His blood, we have to witness it to understand and accept the freedom we now have because of it.
However, that little voice, “I’m here, I’ll help”, needs not to be suppressed, but to rise up inside and call out because our response to Jesus’ death and what He has done for us can be used to help others who are “cold and naked”, “hungry and thirsty”, broken and exposed.
So in answer to my own question, if this was a photo of someones blood, of someones pain what would I do?
“Wherever you travel,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there.
Wherever you travel, I’ll be there.
And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
I’ll be there.”
You can watch a beautiful choral version of this song here: When I Needed A Neighbour