Here are two things to ponder if you can’t sleep:
Ya’ll know the story of the Good Samaritan. Here’s a quick recap: A man is beaten by robbers and left lying beside the road. A priest and a Levite (religious servants) see the victim and leave him lying there. A Samaritan (which is considered the scum of the Israelite community) helps the guy, leaving enough money that he could stay at an inn and recoup for about a month.
Now…in this story, who are you? Which persona do you think fits?
It’s interesting that most folks in the U.S. consider themselves one of the three persons walking down the road, however in Africa, listeners take the roll of the victim.
It floored me. I’d never even considered it. It made me ponder how different cultures gave us different perspectives.
Maybe I had the Good Samaritan story in mind as I left Walgreens yesterday, and the raggedy guy that I passed said something to me.
I stopped, turned around, and gave him my focus. (I’m working on giving folks my “eyes” when I talk since I tend to look around and think of what I need to be doing while they are talking. I’m working on it. I’m not always successful.)
“Would you light my cigarrette?” he repeated.
“Uh…sure,” I said. “Do you have any matches?” He dug in his pocket. It was when I took the matchbook from him that I noticed that his thumb and 2 spots on the fingers he used to tweeze his cigarette were black. His skin actually looked like charcoal. I couldn’t figure out if they were burned spots or tar residue. Jumpin’ Jimeney Cricket that was a lot of smokes, if the black spots came from his habit.
His hand shook as he held the cigarette to his mouth. It took 3 matches. The wind kept blowing them out. In between the 1st and 2nd lights, I was torn with a struggle about what was the right thing to do. I said, “I really don’t think you should be smoking.” I felt stupid after I said it. He didn’t give a rat’s tail what I thought. He probably would have listened to me read the Surgeon General’s warning from his package of Camels, if it meant that I would light his cigarette for him.
So…I’ve pondered the situation ever since. Should I have helped him? Is it right to help someone do something that harms their body?
After his cigarette was lit, he shuffled away without a word. He left me with a question circling my heart.
Care to share your pondering?