Preparing Through Parable: He Took Pity



“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10: 30-37




No parable is as well known in secular circles as that of the good Samaritan – it has become law, under that very name, to protect those who would stop to help someone who is injured or needs assistance, without fear of legal reprisal.

That isn’t exactly why the Good Samaritan story was told: the purpose was not to promote legal protection for the helper, who needed no such protection.  It was to point out that the only one to bother to help was someone who was “other” – someone from Samaria of all places.  Someone of different ethnicity, from a different culture, having different beliefs, worshipping a God in a way considered “corrupted” – this was the person to show compassion, to give richly of himself:  his time, his money, his care, his mercy.  He was the neighbor and friend to the man lying beaten and robbed alongside the road, not the ones who might well have lived next door or who worked in the temple, or who looked like and believed as he did.

As Mr. Rogers once wrote:
“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

Sadly, in this day and age, we have far too many opportunities to recognize the helpers who will assist anyone, no matter who they are, the color of their skin or what they believe.

What a comfort that is!

May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand.  He prepares me with parable.


Let the Tears Flow


People have said, “Don’t cry” to other people for years and years, and all it has ever meant is, “I’m too uncomfortable when you show your feelings.  Don’t cry.”  I’d rather have them say, “Go ahead and cry.  I’m here to be with you.”

~Mister Fred Rogers

I am a crier, no question about it, whether it is listening to the old “whistle” theme from the Lassie TV show, or watching any children’s choir sing.  Certain hymns will always trigger tears, and of course, baptisms, weddings, and graduations. Yesterday was joyfully tear-filled, with our youngest child receiving her college degree.

Tears don’t bother me, whether it is my own or someone else’s.  My office and exam rooms are well- stocked with tissues, and one of my routine mental health history questions is “when did you last have a good cry?”   Some patients will look at me blankly, not sure they ever remember crying, and others will burst into tears at the mere suggestion.

No matter what the reason for tears, it is a powerful expression of feeling, like a smile or a grimace.  I watch for those cues and sometimes can feel the emotion as surely as if it were my own.

I am with you.  And always intend to be.




Explore the Neighborhood

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

Some unwonted, taught pride diverts us from our original intent, which is to explore the neighborhood, view the landscape, to discover at least where it is that we have been so startlingly set down, if we can’t learn why.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

As much as I want to know how and why of my life, I must settle for what and where.   As I grow older, more and more I dwell on who.

I am here to explore, to notice what happens around me and to me, to record it in words that will live beyond my time, to express unceasing gratitude to who has done this wondrous thing I am witness to.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood (thanks, Fred Rogers).