The story of the good Samaritan is from the Bible. It is what is known as a parable, which is a story told for the purpose of making a point; of getting people to consider someone’s motivation for their actions. The parable of the good Samaritan was told by Jesus himself, to his followers.
The good Samaritan was simply a man from Samaria, who, in the story, saw another man in dire need, and just decided to help. The other man was literally dying in a ditch on the side of the road. He had no possessions, and seemingly no hope. The man desperately needed help; help which was not offered by others who passed his way. Some passers-by actually crossed the road to avoid him. The point of the parable was answered in a question. Jesus asked the people which person was a neighbor to the man. The answer to this seemingly obvious question was that the neighbor was the one who helped.
I’ve been reminded of this parable over and over as I’ve traveled through downtown Barre and Montpelier these days following the flood. What I have seen in those cities are people, homes, and businesses in dire need, but also many people, many neighbors, many good Samaritans, who simply want to help and are doing just that.
I have seen everything from school groups, church groups, FEMA workers, and a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association spiritual counseling vehicle offering help. Tents have been put up in parks and on library lawns to offer food and water to anyone in need. Al’s Fries was serving free food today to the downtown Montpelier relief workers. In short, the response to the needs of our area has been heartwarming and overwhelming.
In addition, many individuals have been seen shoveling mud from ditches, taking food to those in need and just helping in countless other ways. One of my wife’s friends recently baked 32 loaves of bread for people being sheltered at the Barre Auditorium. How great is that? Farms have provided vegetables; supermarkets have donated hundreds of packs of water and many other things.
One early act of kindness was experienced by my daughter, Emily, who needed to take a detour from a battered Rte. 2 a few days after the flood. Tired from a long day at work and facing a long ride home, Em passed Hill House Farm and stopped to see a small sign put up beside a little table holding bunches of beautiful flowers. The sign read: ‘FREE FLOWER BOUQUETS, TO BRIGHTEN HARD DAYS.’ Wow! What a perfect example of good Samaritan thinking. Thank you, Hill House Farm, for brightening my daughter’s day!
These and many other neighborly acts are already improving the flood-affected areas of Vermont. Little by little, we will get our state back, physically, to where it was before the storm. In the areas of emboldened faith, realized blessings, and bolstered community spirit, we may already be better off than ever before.
My wife read a quote to me the other day which said: “There are decades when nothing happens, and weeks when decades happen.” How profound and pertinent that thought seems right now.
The parables of Jesus never get old, even in weeks when decades happen. I’m thankful that the spirit of the good Samaritan is alive and well in Vermont!
I would like to express heart-felt thanks to everyone involved in the recovery of our great state. Your efforts are not unnoticed. To those who HAVE noticed, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with words of special ‘good Samaritan’ efforts you have witnessed. I’d like to share them here in future columns.
God Bless Vermont and her MANY Good Samaritans!