“It would be wrong to turn a blind eye, Lulu,” my heart shouted.
“But you’ve got both kids on the motorbike and you are already late to school,” my head answered. “You can’t do much.”
“Yes, but God can.”
I looked back and saw the old man carrying a woman in the hot blazing sun. It’s not something I see every day. I normally see beggars at the roundabout, and kids with dirty hands and feet in ragged clothes. They often pat their stomachs while asking for money. This was different.
He carried her like an oversized stuffed teddy bear. Her arms fell limp and swung low as he struggled to keep hold of her. I stopped and waited. My kids were shouting, “What are you doing? Why are we waiting? We’re gonna be late for school.”
“Yes,” I said, “but I think there’s someone back there who needs help.” We waited, and the man hobbled around the corner toward us. Crocodile tears ﬂowed down his cheeks. We turned the motorbike around and faced one another. He buckled under the weight of his load.
“Mom, what would have happened if we didn’t stop?
By this time a few others had also stopped to look. The man cried as he spoke and explained that this was his daughter. He travelled from the countryside to get help for her at the local hospital, but he was turned away by the doctors and told to leave because he had no money. His daughter was obviously sick. Her skin was yellow with jaundice, and she made no attempt to acknowledge us.
At that moment everyone began pulling money from their pockets and offering assistance. A motorcycle taxi driver drove up and asked if he could help. I took the man’s daughter from his arms as he mounted the motorbike. I looked into her face and saw the face of Vietnam – poor, oppressed, and in need of help.
The driver swept them away. As I got back on my motorbike with the kids, Alex said, “Mom, what would have happened if we didn’t stop? We had to stop.” For a moment I thought about the parable of the Good Samaritan. I reminded myself that it’s important to stop and help when moved by compassion. People are not only physically dying, but also spiritually dying around us, and they need someone to slow down and stop to be a part of their lives.
We needed to stop so the compassion of Christ could be lived out through us. Isn’t that what people need in the world today? Keep your eyes open to spread His compassion today!
Written by Lulu Ottaviani. This article was published in the Fall 2009 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine. She lives in San Francisco.
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