A few months back as I was in my hurried rush to catch my train to get home in time I noticed a middle aged woman walking towards my direction in her stilettos tripping and having an eye jarring fall and writhing in pain as she fell off on the pavement My Instant reaction as I watched her was If I Should help her. As I saw her being comforted by her husband any thoughts of helping her vanished from the lobes of my brain like thin air and I unmindful of the entire situation looked at my watch and heeded towards my train station and turned my head back one more to watch the lady in distress. Most Probably I would have reached out to my phone and made an emergency call for an ambulance if there was no one around. Unfortunately two weeks later I found myself in a similar predicament when I during my daily routine of rushing to work in the morning found myself tripping courtesy of my new shoes and had a nasty fall and instantly started seeing the stars and to my anguish found no one around me to give me a helping hand. I picked myself up and started walking again and I saw a few sympathetic faces and some people just buzzed past me as if nothing transpired before their eyes. I am sure all of us had experiences like these and incidents like these bring to fore the so called Psychological Phenomenon The Bystander Effect.
“The term bystander effect refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in distress. When an emergency situation occurs, observers are more likely to take action if there are few or no other witnesses. Being part of a large crowd makes it so no single person has to take responsibility for an action (or inaction).” – Kendra Cherry Psychology Expert (psychology.about.com)Life puts us all of us in situations where in our darkest moments at the very best all the people who mean very much to us just play the role of bystanders watching the action unraveling in our lives. The unfolding circumstances put us in such a predicament that we turn to the mighty invisible for some divine intervention only for us to see all powerful GOD playing the role of the biggest bystander of all to near perfection. As things give in and the changes kick in for the better we are left to contemplate and acknowledge the guiding hand of the Invisible Bystander.
The Invisible Bystander continues to confound and casts his shadow of indifference as humanity grapples with Disease, Wars, Famine and Destituteness. In spite of the Bystander Effect the Good Samaritans within us continue to inspire by rallying around and fight the malignant cancer rampant amongst us in our society. Does the Invisible Bystander play his cards too close to his chest and unveil his trump card through the indefatigable efforts of army of his Humanitarian Hero’s? May be he does and this is for the comprehension of those who understand the ways of the Mysterious Bystander. As I contemplate the subtle insouciance of the imperceptible Bystander I felt reassured as I recalled the poem “Foot Print in the Sands” of the folklore which delicately mocks our perception of the super natural’s heedlessness.
“One night I dreamed a dream. I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord. When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma. “Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.” -Margaret Fishback Powers