Monday, September 24th was an exquisite fall day in Chilliwack, I heard from two provinces over. But something went missing on that day. My elderly father, a long-time resident of your city, discovered that there are no more Good Samaritans.
On that day Daddy set out on his mobility scooter to visit a friend in the hospital—almost across the road. En-route home, his scooter tumbled off a curb and he tumbled off the scooter. I have no idea how, but somehow my father—who needs help to walk—managed to right his little machine and climb back on.
I wonder how many people saw him there, mid-day, cast down in one of the busiest sections of town.
“I wasn’t hurt, Kathleen,” he told me later, over the phone. “And the scooter wasn’t damaged. But something really bad happened in my head. I got all turned around.”
It should have taken Dad less than five minutes to scoot home. Instead, for over an hour, he wandered around town pleading for help. Asking for directions. Oh, a few people pointed this way and that, but by the time the words were out of their mouths they’d rushed away and dad, who has difficulty with his memory, had already forgotten what they’d said.
And so it happened that when he needed someone, my father, who has helped others all his life, found no one to help him. To take five minutes and guide him home. That he arrived there eventually—and recognized the place—was no doubt due to God’s guidance alone.
Forget about any “state of the nation” speeches. Dad’s story paints a sorry picture of today’s “state of the heart.” We’re petrified of strangers. We’ve lost respect for our elders. We’re scared to touch. We’re too self-centered to get involved. And we assume everyone carries a cell (Dad can’t manage one).
Oh, I’m not pointing fingers at Chilliwack—things like this happen everywhere. In fact, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone at all. I’m doing what my darlin’ dad did a few days later, when I called from two provinces over to wish him a happy 89th birthday: He told me everything about the day he discovered the Good Samaritans had disappeared. And he told me it took him a few days for his head to clear.
Then he said, “I’m okay, Kathleen. I guess I just needed to cry on your shoulder awhile.”
Thank you for letting me do that on yours.