Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Good Samaritan

He was Danish, Lutheran, a stranger and was trying hard to give me comfort and strength only minutes after, in 1979, I had learned of my father’s critical illness. I don’t remember much of what the pastor said. I know he mentioned Jesus, the Apostles, the Cross and the Resurrection, but we happened to be in a very remote area of Nigeria, with no phone, no public transport and no way of sorting out a plane ticket for me to dash home. I tried hard to be polite, knowing he was being kind, but I really wanted to be on my own, to pack my suitcase and to collect my thoughts… and then again, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. The news had come as a terrible shock, with no prior warning whatsoever. I really didn’t need a complete stranger sitting opposite me and saying things that I could have worked out for myself had I the time to think.

Yet, 27 years later, although I can’t remember anything that was said, I still have the warm and comforting memory of a complete stranger making time for me and trying to bring sense into the sudden collapse of anything that was orderly and predictable. Whilst I tried my best to panic(!), he continued speaking in a low, soothing voice, gradually helping me to think rationally. I still have no idea who that Danish Lutheran pastor was, but I have always remained very grateful to my Good Samaritan and have wished that I could say thank you.

We don’t plan our Good Samaritans. They find us on the wayside at the moment when they are most needed. They pick us up, bathe our wounds and carry us to a safer place. They are God’s gift, a sign of his love at the very point in time when his love is needed more than anything else in this world. They are human comfort when we don’t know where to turn. May God bless them!

God bless,
Sr. Janet