Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Good Samaritan

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

expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10: 25-42

I was riding the metro bus one day several months ago and I sat next to a middle aged white woman. I said hello. She returned my greeting warmly if not just a tad puzzled.

People don’t talk on the metro buses.

I could tell that she was troubled so I asked her how she was doing. She gave me the obligatory “fine” but then I made it clear that I really was asking the question because I wanted to know.

You know how most people ask this question out of common courtesy or ritual but don’t really want to know? That’s a serious pet peeve of mine. Why would anyone ask a question as personal as “how are you doing” and not really be interested in the answer? I believe that we could change the world if more of us truly asked this question with our hearts and truly answered it…

But I digress…

So we struck up a conversation. She is a psychologist in Skid Row. Skid Row is the place in downtown LA where many homeless people, drug addicts, pimps and prostitutes are herded together out of sight of the regular citizenry. Many people live, languish and perish there and this woman next to me on this bus is one of the few concerned folks who has made it her life’s work to go down there to help.

But she’s tired man… real tired.

She told me about how she was thinking of finding a new job. She has worked in this community for twenty years and every day it breaks her heart. For every great case of triumph there are many more cases of tragedy. For every person she helps get back on their feet, there are ten, twenty, or a hundred that stumble to their knees; never to get back up again.

As I listened to her I couldn’t help but to think that this is what a saint looks like. She wasn’t perfect. She was actually quite angry and bitter. But when it came down to it she still got on the bus everyday and headed down into a war zone to do her best to change the world.

She is doing more than her part.

I wonder what the world would be like if there were more good Samaritans like her out there.

I have no idea.

But one thing is certain… she needs help. Maybe it isn’t our purpose to be down there with her in Skid Row. After all we should only do what we feel called to do.

But if we all make an effort to do a little more, be a little better, help one more person; then maybe fewer people will end up in her office.

Even if all that we have to give is a smile and a prayer in a given moment… we must pass it along. You never know what effect the warmth of your spirit will have on those around you.

As I prepared to exit the bus I smiled at her and thanked her for the loving work she does everyday. Her eyes lit up and her soul seemed to exhale.

She smiled back and said thank you.

She did go to work that day; and I pray that she has the strength to continue on for many more.

The Good Samaritan Parable.

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 15-16; Luke 10: 25-42


  1. Hey Clarence, this really touched my heart. I totally understand what its like to be in the position of doing great things, but in doing so, it hurts like hell.

    I thank God for you Clarence, continue being the man God who brings such joy and makes such a tremendous difference by simply being you.

    Since I've started reading your blog, there have been several changes that I've made. I just want to encourage you to keep on keeping on.

    "Big Ups"
    Your sister in Christ

  2. Thank you Nikki!

    That really means a lot. I'm just trying to do my best to do what I was told to do. It's been a great ride so far.

    And I'm really glad to hear that it has helped you. I'd love to hear about some of the changes that you have made sometime soon!


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