By Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
I went to see her for the last time about 20 years ago. She lived all alone, not far from our home in a nearby neighborhood. She rarely enjoyed the pleasure of anyone’s company. I met her when I was delivering sacks of groceries for a church effort.
Our first visit was not like a first visit at all. She acted as though we were old friends and invited me to sit down and visit. A bone disease had crippled her frail body so that she could not even stand up straight enough to look her visitor in the eye.
I guess I expected someone with her physical condition and emotional aloneness, living alone and with no family, to be rather negative but she was happy. She remarked about beautiful weather and complimented my generation. “I think young people are so sweet and thoughtful these days,” she said.
I left her tiny mobile home and made a vow to try and return to check on her. Sometimes I brought food and sometimes not. Occasionally I brought a book or a magazine. Once I brought flowers out of my yard.
Our visits lasted for a period over five years. I found it more difficult to find the time to go by her house. One day, about two months after my last visit, she came to the door in her humped-over fashion but with bright and beautiful eyes sparkling as if in perfect physical form.
“I am so glad to see you!” she said hoarsely.
Her voice was so hoarse, husky and low that I said, “Have you been sick? Have you seen a doctor?”
She had not been sick at all, but her answer made me sad. “Oh, I am not sick. I have just not used my voice. The last time I talked to someone was last week so, I guess, the hoarseness is from that,” she said.
No visitors, no phone calls, no communication with anyone, just being alone at home by one’s self. This experience with my older friend taught me a valuable lesson.
I have found that the giving is a blessing for the one who receives, and a great reward for the one who gives.
Jesus told a story to a teacher of the law, an educated man of his day, about a man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. (Luke 10:25-37).
A man was beaten up by robbers and left on the side of the road to die. It was not the priest or the Levite who stopped to help but the most unlikely one of all — the Samaritan. He stopped, took the man into town, bandaged his wounds, and paid for his stay at an inn to recuperate. He told the inn’s owner if the man will owe them anything, he would pay it.
Jesus asked the teacher, “Which one of the three people was the real neighbor?”
The religious leader answered, “The one who showed pity.”
Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
We all have our own Jerichos. The Good Samaritan was on a road to Jericho and found the person he needed to help yet our Jerichos are all around us every day.
We only need to have the spiritual eyes to see those needs and the heart to act on them.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org