8 Little Arrows in my Quiver

Reflections and Ramblings of a Happily Harried Mom of Many

Being a Good Samaritan (or not) August 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — 8littlearrows @ 4:16 pm

I was awakened yesterday morning around 5am by someone screaming.  In my sleepy state, I assumed it was my 2 y.o., who usually wakes up early and screams until someone gets her up.  So I stumbled down the stairs and peeked into her room, only to find her still sleeping.

As I made my way back to my room, I heard the yelling again and realized it was coming from outside.  My first assumption was that it was another domestic disturbance at the duplex across the street, and I lifted the shade at my bathroom window to take a look.

What I saw was a teenage girl standing on the sidewalk, looking right up at my window.  When she saw me her yelling intensified, especially since my gut reaction had been to drop the shade.  She was yelling things like: “Can someone please help me find my family?  I’m scared.  I don’t know what to do!  Somebody? . . . anybody?!”  She was clearly in panic mode, and became louder and more insistent as she wandered back and forth in the street.

By this point, my husband was up and wasted no time calling 911.  The police were there within minutes and, I’m ashamed to admit, I breathed a sigh of relief as I headed back to bed, knowing that nothing more was required of me.

But sleep eluded me.  I couldn’t get the incident out of my head.  I knew, and my husband assured me, that we had done the only sensible thing, so why couldn’t my mind let it rest?  After all, the girl had been bigger than I, could have been on drugs, or mentally unstable, or even carrying a weapon, so I could have been endangering myself and my entire family had I opened my door to her. 

Even though those concerns were all valid, I still felt like the priest and Levite passing up the wounded traveler in the story of the Good Samaritan.  It really bothered me that in this crazy world we live in my natural inclinations so often must be overruled by fear.  My mother heart wanted to go to her, soothe her, help her in some way.  Instead, I dropped the shade and left it to the police to handle.

I guess the question I was torturing myself with was, “Could I have done more, while still being prudent?”  And, I’m sorry to say, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”  I could have called to her from my window, instead of dropping the shade.  I could have asked her her name, and showed compassion, reassured her that help was on the way, tried to soothe her — just as I would want some other mother to do for my children if, God forbid, they were ever in that kind of situation.

I’ve never been great at thinking on my feet, especially at 5am, and I’m not going to beat myself up over it.  But I am going to ask God’s forgiveness for my sin of omission and beg Him to give me the grace to learn from it and do better if there’s a next time.

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3 Responses to “Being a Good Samaritan (or not)”

  1. Fr. Regan Says:

    Think of it in 2 ways… (1) Justice and (2) Prudential Judgement…

    As a wife and mother, you owe a level of justice to your husband and family. So the question is, would this event had taken you away from that? At the crack of dawn, I would say that it had the potential to do that. We are not talking about someone who came specifically to your door, but rather someone yelling on the street.
    However, prudential judgement was enacted by your husband.

    It would not have been wrong to be more involved, but just thinking about the Ignatius Rules for discernment, it had little to do with a choice between a good and evil, rather a choice between 2 goods. One good was in prudence and justice, the other one may have been heroic. In the instance described, it did not appear to me that you were called to act heroic.

    But, that is just me…

  2. Naomi Butler Says:

    rock on, girlfriend! Glad you are writing, since you have such a gift for it. 😉 Peace~

  3. Mary Beth Says:

    I think i would have reacted as you did at 5am or anyother time. But at least you reacted and call 911! Most people would assume its a prank … so bravo to you and Jason for doing something. These days you never know if it was real or not …. maybe she was trying to lure you out of the house and God knows what could have happened. You did good!!


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