- By Flor Santamaría
Three Words for Life
This story in a way, has to do with the Gospel of the good Samaritan and the impression this causes on me. I always get amazed by how, what Lucas tells us, year after year, gets a renewed meaning. A new spark to help us to keep our feet moving towards the path Jesus wants us to walk. A reminder of the closeness of God in every person out there.
It is beautiful to find out how we can take different roles in the parable. Sometimes I am the man in the road, hurt and beaten, dirty and in pain. In another occasion I can be the two who passes and see with indifference the one who is beaten. Other times I can be the good Samaritan and sometimes as well the hostel keeper, who is been paid but still doing his job good.
But the real importance for me, is that Lucas gave us a real and vivid picture of Jesus wanting us to choose. We have to choose; we have to think about what is our part. He tells us how to find out who we are and who we want to be, in order to live forever in the Kingdom of heaven.
In another hand, the Gospel also reassure me that Jesus, will always answer. Even to that man who was trying to trick him, he gave an answer. And now, more than two thousand years after, He keeps giving answers.
I want to share with you this piece of my own story, and encounter with “a good Samaritan” who gave me an answer that changed my vision of God, forever.
I was about twenty-three years old, had a boyfriend and we had been in the movies, soon after the film we started an argument that ended in tears from my part. I was sad but definitely didn’t want to make peace, he wanted to escort me home because it was really late, close to midnight, but I was stubborn and I walked away.
A girl walking alone in the middle of the night was not the smartest thing to do, especially in a dangerous city like that one where I lived.
As deeper was the road and darker the night, I began to pray. Not just for my safety but for many other things, including asking for an answer to my many questions of a young woman. I was carrying an entire bucket with popcorn and a soda. Kind of clinging to the food and the drink as if they were my company in the experienced loneliness.
The moment of truth arrived when I had to go through an even more dangerous street in order to get to the main road to take the bus. It was this kind of alleys where addicts, thieves, and the forgotten hang out together. I saw the length of the street and felt I was going to get into a deep forest of evil, yes, that´s what I believed then, not anymore though.
Then asked my guardian angel to hold by my side and started to walk by the middle of the street. I wouldn’t take the sidewalks, it could be easier to run if must had to.
Some meters away from me, I see the shape of a man walking in my direction, the figure seemed to be stumbling and carrying a sack. I took a deep breath, imagining he was drunk. Then tried to get slightly to a side but something in my heart told me to remain calmed. The closer the bulk was, the clearer the vision, it was just a homeless man. A crab as I called them, with the house over his shoulders.
We encountered face to face, there was a hint of light from the main road. It is common that people who hang out there break the bulbs of the street lamps to keep the darkness. This make them comfortable, because it is easier to keep their faces of pain veiled with the shadows.
So that man, dirty and scruffy looked at me, straight into my eyes and then continued walking. I couldn’t do the same. I stop my steps and turned and saw him go. But a sudden impulse made me shout at him: Hey sir, sir wait and rushed back and told him: -Do you want this popcorn and this soda? I hardly touched them, said feeling a little silly actually.
And he smiled beautifully with mouth that used to hold more teeth and replied: -Of course girl, one must never say no to food. I sight and smiled back. Of course I felt I made a good deed, that is natural, you know, after feeding a homeless, but actually what he said before I turned my back to him to keep moving towards my bus stop, with that intense look straight to my eyes was a message that remained written in my soul up to date:
-You see girl? God never lacks. God never fail.
I understood then, the man in his rags was living in Christ. Obviously, I am not talking in a theological way, but he, in his poor condition was rich, because he was thankful and aware that everything he could need would come by the love of God. While I proudly thought for a moment I was feeding him, it was him with his words who fed me forever instead.
He was a light in the darkness that I was experiencing, a darkness darker than that street and the person God had chosen to speak to me and give me the answers I was in need to hear, the good Samaritan assigned to lift me up and take me back to peace.
“God never lacks”, three words which are, then and today the answer to all my troubles.