Friday, February 1, 2013


Wrote this post when we visited Alan in October. Intentions were to publish it then, but somehow it got passed up. I came across it tonight. What a timely reminder for me...I hope it will be for you as well. 


Our car purrs along the backroads. 

Another morning on the farm awaits. Falls colors explode above us. The day seemingly rejoices in its birth. 

Then we spot him. He’s limping alongside the asphalt trail. Dad slows the car. I know he’s going to offer a ride. 

He turns toward us. I freeze. Blood forms a river dry from his eye. I cringe. 
Dirty hand clutches chest in pain. 

“Do you need a ride?” 

He nods with effort and collapses shot gun. 

“What happened?”

“Wrecked my truck,” he rasps. “Hit a tree.” 

“Can we take you to a doctor?”

“No, my wife will take me. Just drop me at the house.” 

He is in shock. Leaning back into the seat, eyes roll back in his head. He’s hurting. 

“Thank you so much for picking me up. You have no idea how many people have driven by me this morning without even slowing down.” 

Suddenly I see in him more than a broken Tennessee boy. It’s as if we’re reenacting a story of long ago...

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell...” 

You know the story, right? You can see the fanciful drawings from the Bible Story books you read as a kid. You can see the pretentious priest and the hoity-toity Levite gathering their robes luxurious stepping around the wounded man noses plugged to the heavens. 
Then comes the Samaritan, hero of the telling. Compassion lines his face as he slides from his donkey and bends over the broken and the bleeding. 

We pull into the driveway. Mom walks with him to the door. 

He’s Patrick: nobleman 

He’s hurting. Aren’t so many? Of noble and not such...each broken in their own ways. 

His face is burned into memory. I see the blood as I plant artichokes, as I haul worm castings, as I scrape away the dead remains of summer. 
Muscles burn under strain, but the heart burns more.

“You have no idea how many people past me...” 

I think of the priest and the Levite. Maybe it wasn’t just their status, their rich robes. 
No...perhaps it was more than that. 

Maybe they were busy. Too busy to see. How easily observance is lost. Busy kicks us into high gear and blinds us. 
(Ever stuck your head out a window of a car speeding down the highway and tried to keep your eyes open? Don’t try that while driving.)

Maybe the priest and Levite had the greatest of intentions, but time did not permit the stopping to help the hurting. *ouch*

“You have no idea how many people past me...” 

How many times do I fly past the Patricks not seeing them for the busyness? How often passing over the broken and the bleeding in the scramble to “do good”?  

“To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke...”