Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Samaritan

I read an article today that convicted my spirit and broke my heart. It was a story about a string of events caught on a surveillance camera in New York. A couple walking down the street started arguing and the situation escalated and became physical. A homeless man in his early 30's stepped in to protect the woman. Her attacker then turned on the homeless man, stabbed him several times and ran away. The woman fled in the opposite direction. The "Good Samaritan" (as they are calling him)tried to follow the attacker until he collapsed onto the sidewalk.

The video surveillance showed several people walk by the injured man. Some simply glanced his way and kept walking. Others stopped and gawked, then walked on. Finally, a man rolled him over, noticed the pool of blood under him and hurried away. Eventually, authorities arrived, but it was too late. The man was dead.

A few locals were interviewed and expressed disgust and disappointment that no one DID anything. "What has happened to humanity?" they asked. Many people saw him lying there and just walked on by. No one even attempted to help him.

This man, this "Good Samaritan" chose to "get involved" instead of just looking the other way when he saw the woman being attacked. Maybe he even saved her life! But where was a Good Samaritan when he needed one?

We've all heard the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible. Basically, a gang of thieves and murderers beat the crap out of a traveling Jewish man, stole all he had and left him for dead. A priest, a teacher of religion and a Levite all saw the man, but passed by on the other side of the road. Then a Samaritan came along and helped him, regardless of the fact that Jews and Samaritans were enemies. I recently heard it said that the thing that separated him from the other men who passed by was not his courage or bravery, but his perspective. The other men were more worried about what could potentially happen to them if they risked stopping to help. The Samaritan was more concerned with what could potentially happen to the victim if he DIDN'T stop.

I'm sure those people in New York assumed this was just some drunk homeless man, passed out on the street. Heck, living downtown, I see that from time to time myself, but the thing is, even that deserves at least a call to 911.

We live in a "Live and Let Live" culture. We are raised to mind our own business and not get involved in the affairs of others. We put our own needs and concerns above others and we live in fear of what could happen if we get involved.

How many times are we faced with opportunities to help others, to be the hero? How many times do we simply keep driving when we see someone hitch-hiking or a car stranded on the side of the road, out of fuel, with a flat tire or in need of a jump? We are in a hurry so we don't stop. We assume someone better qualified to help will stop, so we keep going. Or we are afraid that by stopping, we are putting ourselves in harm's way. I mean, you just never know what kind of psychopath is pretending to need assistance, but is actually just waiting for an opportunity to kidnap, rape or kill! In reality though, the person in need is just like you and me, just down on their luck.

I hope we all think twice before just passing by someone who needs our help. What if it was me? What if it was you or someone you loved? Wouldn't you want someone to stop and help?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Funny how inspiration strikes when I'm driving. Never when I'm staring at a computer screen or when I have a pen and paper handy. Maybe I should invest in a voice recorder so I can take advantage of those moments!

Work has been a little rough lately. Dealing with personnel issues, a payroll audit and some directives that I've had to respectfully disagree with has taken all my energy. I'll be happy when summer comes because even when work life sucks in the summer, I still have a few hours of glorious heat and sunshine to enjoy!

Today hit 80 degrees. I spent my 30 minute lunch break in my car with the moon roof open and the sun beating down on my face. I loved every second of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I have a friend, Chuck, who runs the karaoke at an old dive bar in Post Falls that I used to frequent. He took a break from it for a couple years and recently started back up. After several invitations to come out and visit, I finally did. As soon as I stepped through the front door, I saw two ladies sitting at the bar who I swear were in those exact seats the last time I walked out of that place talking to the same bartender. Not much had changed. Immediately, all these memories came rushing back. I used to refer to that place as my "Cheers" bar. I knew all the regulars and all the latest gossip. I was well liked, rarely had to pay for drinks and spent more time turning down invitations to dance than anything else. It was my comfort zone.

My, how things have changed! I spent a little over an hour nursing the same beer, sitting by an old guy I used to know. Every time I see him, he talks about the Philippines because he knows I lived there for a short time as a child and he was stationed there for a few years. And every time I see him, he reminds me that we share a birthday, although he was born 36 years before me. It was good to see him and Chuck, but I felt out of place, uncomfortable and flooded with memories of a lifetime ago.

Yes, it has only been a few short years in reality, but the girl that I was back then - lost, alone, hurting, desperate for a sense of of worth - I barely remember her. Chuck commented several times on how uncomfortable I seemed to be. All I could think of was how lucky I am to have gotten out. I could have easily turned into one of those girls at the bar, sitting on the same stool night after night, month after month, year after year.

I was rescued though... and although I missed that lifestyle, that place, those people for a long time, I have no desire to go back. I don't see anything wrong with enjoying a few drinks or going out and having a good time on ocassion. That isn't what I'm talking about. I still drink when I feel like it, but I'm at a different place now. I don't need to be out all the time, socializing, running away from my pain and loneliness. I don't need to drink to feel happy or at least numb. I am so thankful that God, through other people and circumstances, lifted me out of that pit I was in. I don't ever want to go back to the person I was.

God truly has blessed this broken road...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wherever you kids are...

Know that I love you and I pray for you every day. I feel completely powerless and have no idea what to do to help you in your current situation... because I don't even know for sure where you are. But I hope that deep down, you know that your family loves you more than life itself and we would do ANYTHING for you.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Better Man

"You make me want to be a better man." "You've made me a better man." "I'm a better person when I'm with you (or because of you)."

Several men in my past have made similar comments. They've explained that by hanging around me, they are inspired to better themselves or to be better versions of themselves. Some of them went so far as to give up certain vices; some started volunteering or donating to charity organizations; some started going to church, living their faith and seeking a deeper relationship with God. Most of them began making positive changes in their lives. The first time I heard such a statement, I was deeply flattered and thought it was the best compliment I could have been paid. However, over time, the positive changes most of them made, have been reversed. They were temporary. Maybe they were inspired at that time and truly desired a lifestyle change. Maybe they were trying to impress me and change into the person they thought I wanted them to be. But regardless of their intentions, their long term actions did not support their statement.

I've heard a similar statement a few times in my present relationship. I know that he genuinely believes what he is saying. He has even made one significant change that I am aware of, but he is still very much the person I met in the beginning. Are there things about him I wish were different? YES! But I love him for WHO he is, in spite of what I consider to be his flaws. Lord knows I have more than my fair share!

If I'm with a man, I am with him because I like the man he is, not because I like the man he has the potential to be. Sure, I hope to be a good influence on all of the people I surround myself with, just as I hope they are good influences on me. I will encourage them, I will tell them when I am proud of them and I will communicate when they hurt me with their actions or life choices. But I do not choose to be with someone so that I can potentially help fix him or change him into something that he is not.

Precious few people in my life have ever made me want to strive to be a better woman (in fact, a few of them had the complete opposite affect on me). On the flip side of that statement, I do know that I am a better person for having known certain people. I make my own choices though, regardless of who is in my life. I choose to live my life to the best of my ability. I want the man in my life to encourage me, to see my potential and push me to set goals and reach them, but love me for who I am today. When I do something that hurts or bothers him in any way, I want him to communicate that to me. I want to better myself, but I want to do so FOR ME... to enrich my own life, subsequently enriching the lives of everyone who is or ever will be in my life, but NOT because I seek approval from a man.

All of that being said, these types of statements now grate on my nerves. I'm at the point where I don't want to know that someone thinks that. I want them to make healthy choices and positive changes because THEY want to better themselves, not because they want to impress me or because they think that is what I want. If someone changes FOR someone else, it's only a matter of time, before they fall back into their old ways - leading to even further disappointment. Actions speak louder than words. Don't tell me that I make you want to be a better man. Just choose to be a better man! When my guy chooses to make positive changes, I am there to support and encourage him, but only time will tell if there has been a genuine transformation.

I know that as relationships evolve, there are adjustments, compromises and a meshing together of two personalities. People become like who they associate with and ideally they change for the better. I'm just at the point where I don't want to HEAR it, I want to SEE it.

I am fortunate to have a good man. And I love him just as he is.