Intro Video
Showing posts with label On Spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On Spirit. Show all posts

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Today I Experienced The Good Samaritan Parable
Warning: Long read

"I go by BJ!", she exclaims while walking towards us, "for Barbara Jean."

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon today, in the sweltering heat summer sun that causes
the skin to be drenched, the skin clammy to the touch.

My arm is tiring, supporting as it is the palm that is moving every which way to position my phone
so it can hopefully connect to those seemingly ever present cell tower signals that now seem to have
become ephemeral in this sunken place where those radio-waves need to be useful.

"Hi! Do you guys need help?", says a silvery voice in the light brown Mercedes Benz making a right-turn.

"Yes we do, our car broke down," as I point down the road to what is her left,"and we are trying to reach our
insurance company for help but this spot seems like a cell phone deadzone."

My arm is still in the air as if performing the gestures that accompany the casting of a Reparo charm.

In the Benz is an old woman, not the kind you pity with their old bones and feeble limbs, but the kind who could still run
an army kitchen given half a chance. She sits quite upright and looks slim, her head full of winter-white hair free flowing
and likely styled with old fashioned rollers, the kind women used to sleep in.

Her world weary face is not made up and as she speaks her friendly smile lights up her face. Were she any paler, I notice,
her mouth would be garish, but against her sun-kissed skin it looks right.

"Which company are you trying to reach?"

When she pulls up her phone to search for the company's phone line, I see the soil beneath her finger nails. A gardner I'll bet.
Then I notice her sunglasses, Method Seven type high-end garden wear. I'll bet she has the best front yard on her street.

"Alright, neither can I! I'll go to my house and be right back with that number."

"Can I get you something to drink too? I got water or soda?"

"Much appreciated and water will be fine."

With that, she spins around, pushing aside everything that had got her out of her presumably cool comfort and into
the broiling, sultry summer heat.

True to her word she is back in 20 minutes to where our incapacitated vehicle had sputtered, wheezed and given out.

"So I thought customer care might not be reachable and you might need all there contact numbers."

"Do the phones work?"

"No, still searching for the network."

"Let me use mine." A few seconds later, a congenial whisper, "OK, it's dialing."

I don't know where you were when you watched Mr. George Floyd die before your very eyes.

I still have no words to describe the depth of the experience and so I will lean on the
searing words of Isabel Wilkerson:

We saw a man face down on the pavement, pinned beneath a car, and above him another man,
a man in uniform, his skin lighter than the man on the ground, and the lighter man was
bearing down on the darker man, his knee boring into the neck of the darker man, the
lighter man’s hands at his sides, in his pockets — could it be that his hands were so
nonchalantly in his pockets? — such was the ease and casual calm, the confidence of
embedded entitlement with which he was able to lord over the darker man.

We heard the man on the ground pleading with the man above him, saw the terror in his face,
heard his gasps for air, heard the anguished cries of an unseen chorus, begging the lighter man to stop.
But the lighter man, the dominant man, looked straight at the bystanders, into the camera, and thus at
all of us around the world who would later bear witness and, instead of heeding the cries of the chorus,
pressed his knee deeper into the darker man’s neck as was the perceived right granted him in the hierarchy.

We soon learned that the man on the ground, George Floyd, had been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit
$20 bill, and, like uncountable Black men over the centuries, lost his life over what might have been a
mere citation for people in the dominant caste.

Off camera, two other men in uniform, who looked like the lighter man, were holding down the darker man
from the other side of the police car as dusk approached in Minneapolis.

Yet another man in uniform, of Asian descent and thus not in the dominant caste, stood near,
watching, immobilized, it seemed, at a remove from his own humanity and potential common cause,
as the darker man slipped out of consciousness.

The man on the ground went silent, drained of breath.

A clear liquid crept down the pavement.

We saw a man, a black man, mercilessly extinguished before our very eyes.


"That is so sad", my lady declared as a seemingly duck-like row of vehicles passed us by without so much as "Hello!"
from their operators.

"They can clearly see the hood up, if nothing else, why not ask if everything's alright?"

"Why fly on by like that?"

"That lady is something else, to stop and ask if we needed help and then to turn around and actually help us."

I could see she was astounded by the deeds the lady we had come to know as BJ had so far done.

By this time, about 40 minutes after we first met Barbara Jean, we had reached the insurance company phone line, got a
tow truck to come pick up the conked out vehicle and Barbara Jean had left to drop off items at the dump, for that is what
had got her out at the time we met.

Not only that, she also had left behind her phone with us, in case the tow truck driver needed further
directions to reach us.

That was extra, extra courteous and my lady, a black woman born and raised in Southern Virginia was moved.

You see, via this very road we were on, we had visited the aberrations of former slave plantations as she sought to give me
personalized witness to the unfitness of the experience of people with my shade of skin in America.

A summarized yet unglamorized life experience; my education through oration of vexation and contemplation in the demonstration of
degradations, overt and more often covert, by those personifications that were as non-melanated as was Barbara Jean.

To quote Lonnie G. Bunch III:

"Like many Americans, watching multiple incidents of deadly violence against black people unfold before
our eyes has left us feeling demoralized and distraught, aghast, and angry....despite gains made in the
past 50 years, we are still a nation riven by inequality and racial division.

The state of our democracy feels fragile and precarious.

Once again, we struggle to make sense of the senseless.

Once again, we bear witness to our country’s troubled history of racial violence, from Freddie Gray and
Eric Garner to Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin.

Once again, we try to cope as best as we can, whether suffering in silence, participating in protests,
or engaging in conversations that evoke all of our emotions.

Once again, we try to explain to our children that which cannot be explained.

Once again, we pray for justice and we pray for peace.

Once again.

Although it will be a monumental task, the past is replete with examples of ordinary people working
together to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges."

When we got back home, we called our new found neighbor to let her know we were well and thanked her again for
all her graciousness. All she requested in thanks was to pray for her cousin, who happened to reside in a
nursing home in New York.

And so pray we did and we will.

Today I bore witness to but a portion of it, ordinary people working on the labor of being a neighbor, good neighborliness
and doing their part to treat each other best they can as such.

As Richard Ford put it:

"We try, as my sister said. We try. All of us. We try."


Luke 10:25 New International Version (NIV)

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,”
he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all
your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a];
and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was
attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man,
he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him,
passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was;
and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds,
pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an
inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them
to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return,
I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

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

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

a. Luke 10:27 Deut. 6:5
b. Luke 10:27 Lev. 19:18
c. Luke 10:35 A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer (see Matt. 20:2).

The End