Right before Christmas break when I was in junior high school, one of our teachers announced that a family in our area had fallen on some bad luck. I believe the father had been involved in an auto accident and would not be able to work for several months. There were a number of children in the family and the school would be taking up donations for the next week to help this family in need. Our homeroom teacher asked that we bring in canned goods and anything extra that we might want to share and help this family with, especially since it was the holiday season. Our names would then be put on a card and sent along with the donated items to the family.We also would then be recognized by our teacher for being a good Samaritan.
That evening as I shared this story with my father he sat and thought for a minute and then said that I could take a couple of cans of food to the school the next day, if that is what I wanted to do. I agreed, but wished it could be more, yet knowing that times were difficult for everyone, including our family. He never mentioned it again that evening but I couldn’t get the entire situation off of my mind. A couple of cans of food seemed so little to be sharing. But I took my cans of food the next day and they were added to all of the others that were being gathered in a huge box in the back of the classroom. I can remember as a young person feeling pretty good about myself and the fact that I was a part of helping out someone in need. I was also very pleased that my name was going to be recognized by my home room teacher.
That evening when I went home things were pretty normal until after supper when my father told me to get my coat on, because he and I were going to be taking a little ride. While I was getting bundled up he and my mother carried three large boxes full of groceries to the car and was placing them into the trunk. I saw not only canned food, but laundry detergent, milk, eggs and among other things, even packages of meat. My father talked very little as we drove along and soon I noticed the stop where our school bus picked up children on our route. This is where the family lived whose father had been in the accident. .As my father and I got out of the car, we retrieved two of the boxes from the trunk and then approached the front door. It opened slightly and a lady appeared with three little boys standing close behind her. Dad spoke first.” Just brought you a few things if you think you could use them.,” he said to her. She took one of the boxes in her arms and dad sat down the other on a chair by the entrance. He then handed her an envelope, which she took, looked inside and then slid it into her pocket. While Dad was retrieving the third box from the car I watched her and I’ll never forget the look on her face as she took the boxes one by one and took them into the house. I can’t explain it to you,only to say it was one of controlled happiness.“ What’s your name?” She asked my dad, as she shook his hand “ That’s not important,” Dad said. “ Just a neighbor.” And with that we walked back to the car.It happened exactly like that. No hugs,no details or pats on the back. Giving and receiving.Doing what needed to be done.
The story of the good Samaritan was told to me in church throughout my childhood years. It was a story of a traveler who was beaten,robbed and left to die along the side of the road. After others had looked at him and passed him by, the Samaritan stopped and gave the man aide. The dictionary defines a good Samaritan as a person who compassionately helps someone else who is in distress with no thoughts of reward. My church had taught me the story but my father gave me the hands on experience. All things do not have to be about recognition. Sometimes things are just simply about helping someone who needs it.Peroid.
I know in this day and age, times are definitely tough with the slumping economy, lay-offs, and everyone tightening their belts just to live. Today, somewhere there is someone who could use some unsolicited help, be it in the form of a box of groceries, or just a few dollars in an envelope to help a Mom and Dad over the holidays, or maybe even an occasional paid lunch at the senior citizens center for the new year. Although $3.25 seems to be a meager amount, it can mean the difference between someone being hungry, or not. There’s an elderly lady living on an alarming low income in a nearby town that a friend recently told me about. I think I’ll make a batch of my homemade vegetable soup and take her some containers of it to freeze. It’s a small start, but it is a start. Where are the good Samaritans?