Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who Was Neighbor?

I was visiting my family in Omaha, NE the first part of July. It was an unusually sweltering hot day even by Nebraska standards. A nephew, who is the development person for Siena Francis House for the homeless, invited our family to serve the evening meals at the shelter this night. Anyone 8 years of age or older may serve so the room swarmed with my grand nieces and nephews as they set up, served and cleaned up after each of the four rounds of guests. I was delighted to see these “worker bees” so present to each guest.

We’d finished and were heading home, when a siren went off. The radio went on and directions were to take shelter. A severe, fast moving storm was headed our way in ten minutes; it would be over in twenty. My brother-in-law, knowing the territory, drove the truck to a viaduct of concrete structures near the Missouri River to wait out the storm.

While parked there waiting for the threat to hit, a Don Quixote type figure came over a grassy knoll, seemingly from out of nowhere, his arms held out to his sides, as though gliding on pre-storm winds. It became quickly evident that he was intoxicated. The “glider” grounded with the first strong gust and torrent of rain. Sitting there he was soaked in a flash. Slowly he got up, staggered to the shelter of the concrete pillar and sat there looking bereft. It was then that he noticed the truck. He got to his feet and made his way over, banging on the door with determination. He was wet but not cold, drunk and not hurt. What to do?

The recent Sunday scripture reading about the Good Samaritan was ringing loudly in our ears with Jesus’ question, “Who was neighbor to the man?”

Anyone answering this?

Liz Sully, OP
Atlanta, Georgia

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