The Not-so-good-2

Christina Quist: The-Not-So-Good-Samaritan

It was late afternoon, on a mild winter Cape Town day. I coerced Kevin into taking a walk around our neighborhood. It’s kind of an intense path. There’s a big hill. It involves stairs, lots of stairs. My mind was focused on both breathing, trying not to collapse and maintaining dialogue.

As we descended the hill, I saw her, sitting on the curb, shuffling her feet in the gravel. The bobby pins in her hair held certain sections more adamantly than others. Her pants were a brown cotton, an ugly brown.

In mid-breath, about 5 steps away from her, I felt a small voice inside me say, “Stop for this one.” Wait…What?…Now?

JESUS, I’M NOT IN THE MOOD FOR THIS TODAY!

I smiled a cheery hello to her. She seemed surprised. She held out her cupped hand for money and with a sound that only comes from a mouth unhindered by the obstruction of teeth, said, “Can you halp me pleeze?”

I did not stop. I passed right on by.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re looking at this scenario as if it happened in your own neighborThe Not-so-good-2hood. Perhaps you are viewing this from small town America, homeless population of 2. And one of those is an angst-y hipster with a point to prove, so he doesn’t count. You’re aghast. It’s ok, you can judge.

It was not the first time that day I had been asked for money. Five, six, seven times a day it happens. Every day. At the stop lights. At the post office. At the grocery stores. At the library. In the McDonald’s drive-thru. At the mall…

BUT…

As I walked by, I knew immediately it was a mistake.

Within in the space of 10 steps I both heard the command to help and felt the sting of guilt when I chose to ignore it. OH, COME ON! I wanted to smack my forehead with the palm of my hand.

Why does God do that? If He had perhaps prepared me before the walk, I would have looked for it.  Would it be too much to ask for a pre-game pep talk?  I didn’t start my walk with the intention to stop and help anyone. I set out with the intention to conquer some stairs and burn some calories.

That person who walked by without helping…that wasn’t the me I want people to meet. I love to pray for people and speak life and encouragement and hope over them. I live for that restoration of life. But not today. Today was my day off. It really wasn’t a fair time for God to ask me to do anything.
In this moment I was me: the not-so-good-Samaritan. In a flash I went from thinking about my grocery list to carrying a load of guilt, regret and self-condemnation along with the dawning horror  that I had come to the point where I could consciously choose NOT to help.

No matter if we encounter 2 or 20 people a day, we are all susceptible to the slow calcification process. A soft heart subtly turns into a heart of stone. It took this one-out-of-place lady, sitting on the curb, to realize how soft the Spirit’s whisper is and how loudly my own selfishness responds.

I understand the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke. I have been all four characters at one time or another. I’ve been the person lying on the side of the road, beaten and robbed, raising a feeble hand to see if anyone will stop to help.

I have been the Priest and Levite who walked by, filled with pride and its sinister counterpart, self-loathing and condemnation.

And I have been the Good Samaritan, the one who stops.

The Good Samaritan is not just a one time event. It’s an ongoing drama, with continuous acts and we each take turns playing roles.

We all have played or will play the roles of each character, at one time or another, identifying with each and every one. Some roles we hang on to a bit more than others.

Do you know what I’ve learned most from the parable of the Good Samaritan? The person lying on the ground is not always the one in need of rescue.

Often the one in need of rescue is the one walking by.

 

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My Neighborhood Watch Can Beat Up Your Neighborhood Watch

This post has no motivational or spiritual significance. After years of living in a relatively peaceful, predominantly white suburb in the US, we are still discovering little nuances about living in South Africa.

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Our neighbor’s had a “yard sale” as a result of the eviction. This was day #2.

Our neighbors were finally evicted from their house. They ran a pretty successful meth lab and bed and breakfast. It’s probably not the type of B-n-B you’d want to stay with the family. People slept inside the cars, outside in the backyard, on the front lawn. There is no sign of food, but there are signs of other activities. Mostly between 2 and 6 a.m. If we complained to the police about the activities, some were rewarded with a gift of human feces in their lawn the next morning. Continue reading

Porcupine Designs-Send Your Heart to South Africa

10491974_652566544813627_6333383087184781437_nEvangeline, Dylan, Ethan (otherwise known as Porcupine Designs) successfully delivered blankets to 16 kids in the community of Dunoon. Thanks to several friends who pitched in and helped!

The next delivery we would like to make is to a group of kids in the community of Mountain View. There are 10 kids total, 6 girls and 4 boys. They range in age from 3-6. It is a poor community and two of the children live outdoors. Continue reading

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I Hope He Remembers to do His Laundry

 

It took me almost his entire 19 years for me to believe that he was never designed for the typically prescribed American educational mold. College plans? Not so much. And that’s ok. Because while I worried over his GPA and future occupations, he followed his own heart and passion.  And he astounded us with his gifts for film and photography. Frankly because, neither of us have those gifts, so we don’t now where they came from. Continue reading

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Check Out These Photos!

Guess what? Our oldest son Jackson is headed to a YWAM Discipleship Training School on the other side of South Africa. He will be gone for 6 months. He also must raise his own funds to pay for his fees, because, as you know, we can’t legally work here in SA.

To pay for his $3000 fee, Jackson is offering some pretty stellar photos of Cape Town. Now you can have a slice of South Africa in your home! The photos are free, in lieu of a donation to his DTS. Continue reading

Cape Town, South Africa