**An excerpt from the Be An Acorn book.**
Starting in Luke 10:30 is the parable of the good Samaritan. Most of us know it. A guy is on his way into town and thieves jump in, steal everything he has, beat him nearly to death and leave him on the side of the road. Can you picture that? What about yourself? Can you picture yourself walking down the sidewalk of a busy city, you haven’t even entered into the heart of it yet, just making your way into its perimeter. You can see the buildings getting bigger in the distance and hear the traffic buzzing, horns honking and buzz of city life. From seemingly out of nowhere come half a dozen men towards you. They’re not laughing, they’re not smiling, except for one in the front, their leader, and its more of a smirk. Only a few steps away you catch the reflection of light off something, a knife. Someone else has a hammer in their hand. They ask for your money, the begin pushing you, before you can even hand over your wallet you’re being pummeled. You black out.
When you open your eyes you realize you can’t open them completely. Your head is throbbing, your entire body is throbbing, you think your arm is broken, maybe your leg too. It’s sometime at night, the wind is colder than the air around you and as you touch your face you immediately break into tears, so many realizations in that single action. You can’t feel anything on your face, you can’t feel your fingers touching it, the swelling over your eyes and mouth brings grotesque images to mind. This face you’re touching, it isn’t yours. You feel the scratches, the bruises, the dried blood and the tears that slide from behind the lumps of black and blue. Why would someone do this? What did you do to deserve this? This was evil, pure evil. You pass out again.
When you awake this time it’s day. It must have rained because your drenched and suddenly you become very aware of the piles of trash bags you’re lying near as their stench makes you gag. You can hear footsteps around you, people are going about their business, back to work as usual. You open your eyes just enough to make out a man dressed in black coming towards you. For a moment you wonder if it’s the angel of death come for you, but as he draws closer on the sidewalk you see the white collar at the nape of his neck. Hope swells in you and you reach your hand for him only to see his path suddenly arc around you until he’s passed out of vision. Your mind crashes. A level of confusion and hurt you’ve never experienced completely overwhelms you and your hands and head begin to tremble. Shock has slid into fear, a deep, conquering fear. You lose track of time.
Your mouth is dry and you’ve thrown up several times wondering if several ribs are broken as well. You try to stand but both legs scream in pain causing you to collapse back onto the trash bags. As you try to speak, to ask for help, but all you can manage is a scratched cough. A small group of guys is nearing you, they’re carrying something, a book, they’ve all got one. You reach for them, cough at them, but they scatter, never making eye contact with you as you notice the gold letters embossed on one of their books, a leather cover, it’s pages paper thin and their edges gold as well. You begin to feel the anger well up. You want to grab the book and beat them with it until they feel as you do, completely broken, completely and utterly alone. You try to stand again, but it’s almost as if the pain has gotten worse. You’ve got to get to a hospital. You make the attempt again, fighting the pain until its strength is so great you lose consciousness.
“Hey.” You feel your shoulders shake. “Hey, man, wake up.” The swelling on your face has increased, but you try to open your eyes. “Bro, are you ok? Wait, that’s a stupid question. Ok, hold on.” You open your eyes enough to make out his face, he’s on a cell phone. “…yes, he’s badly hurt, please send an ambulance…I don’t know if he has insurance…what? Fine! I’ll pay it for it. Yes, I have a credit card…” He’s got piercings all the way up his ears, one in his lobe big enough to fit your finger in. His hair is black, wild and his arms are covered in tattoos. You fade, wake to flashing lights, fade, wake again to fluorescent lighting above you. You’re rolling backwards. A constant beep, beep, beep brings you to full consciousness. The pain seems less. You move your arms realizing you’re connected to something, opening your eyes to find yourself in a hospital. You begin to cry again, for different reasons and wonder in between your sobs if he was an angel?
When the self-righteous Priests of the temple tried to corner Jesus in a theological challenge this is how he answered them. As I watched the man walk away in the falling snow I began to understand a little better that it wasn’t so much about me just being nice to others, justifying my lack of compassion with the fact that I wasn’t beating people to death, or stealing from them, or murdering or raping them. I wasn’t committing any crimes so I wasn’t a criminal, right? Wrong. There are two kinds of criminals, the kind that commit the crimes and the kind that watch them happen and do nothing about it.
I made up my mind to park at a rest area down the highway a bit and as I pulled out of Starbucks, heading in the same direction as the mind-reader had, I looked but found him nowhere. He was gone. Had I done what I could? I parked under a street lamp hoping it would provide me some security, crawled in the back and stretched my legs into the trunk. I didn’t ever want to wonder again in my life if I had done enough.