Encounters: I Passed By

By Mark

It was an Indian summer evening my first semester at BYU after my mission. I’d studied in the library until just after dark, then headed to my apartment off campus. I was enjoying the beautiful evening as I crossed the Maeser quad, and I heard her before I saw her. I had to look around for the source of the wailing sobs, and finally I saw her through the late dusk, standing over near the entrance to the Brimhall building. She was oblivious to me as she bawled her eyes out. My first thought was that I should do something, but then I realized that I wouldn’t know what to do, and besides, she would very likely be frightened at the approach of a man she didn’t know after dark in a deserted part of campus. So I passed by on the other side.

I don’t know what her difficulty was. Maybe she had received some tragic news from home or broken up with someone she thought she loved. Or maybe it was something more mundane — a bad grade, or an argument with a roommate. And I was almost certainly correct in my assumptions, because I wouldn’t have known what to say and I almost certainly would have frightened her with my approach. But I’ve been discomfited, over the years, by the readiness and speed with which those reasons (excuses?) came to mind. And I still wish I had been willing to give it some more thought at the moment, and maybe at least stop to pray for inspiration.


[See all the Encounters guest posts here.]

For the next 3 weeks (through Friday, December 21, 2012), we’d love for you to share any encounters you’ve had.  Selected submissions will be published on Doves & Serpents.  Submissions should be sent to guest guestposts@dovesandserpents.org (please see our guest post guide).