I recently traveled to Chicago with my grandma. Once again, I felt grateful for my situation. I have a support system, a family, safety and comfort. Many people with issues similar to mine do not have those luxuries. I was reminded of the “Good Samaritan” parable in the Bible. The story I was told cannot be word-for-word because I was not taught to take everything literally. The “cliff notes” version is that a man lay by the side of the road and no one stopped to help him. No one paid him any attention. Some purposely did not acknowledge his presence. If they could not look upon him, they would not be obligated to come to his aide. Authority figures passed by. Religious leaders turned their heads. The man’s own people did not stop. A complete stranger halted. A man later titled the “Good Samaritan” rescued the struggling man.
I have not traveled much in my life, but I have met people who live under bridges in tents. I have seen citizens of large cities lying on their backs, possibly dead, unbeknownst to the public. No one stops.
This week, I encountered a particular woman on the street who was obviously suffering from the inside out. It was clear that her head was at full capacity and without her complete control. She talked to voices invisible to everyone else. I wanted to tell her that I know how she feels, but that isn’t true.
There are homeless people on almost every block: begging, sleeping, drinking. Does anyone have a bottle of water to spare? A cup of coffee? A blanket? French fries? A twenty in cash? When we have cash, we say we don’t. Who needs it more?
When in doubt, be a good Samaritan.