"Please help me!" I heard her scream inside her house as I stood alarmed yet cautious in her drive way. I had never before met her or her husband. "Help me, please!" When she scrambled back outside to the porch in full view, I saw the blood-soaked towel she was clutching over her left hand, and I quickly sprang into action, running up the steps toward her. "I've cut off my fingers," she loudly and painfully shrieked. "I need help."
This moment , though quite frightful, marked the start to what I hope will be a sweet friendship. I happened to be walking by her house yesterday on my daily two-mile trek. It was an absolutely gorgeous Kentucky evening...the ones we know are heaven-made--but curdling screams have a way of redirecting our attention.
Her name is Beatrice. She had been using electric trimmers to cut away the stubborn and prolific ornamental grasses in her side-yard rose bed. She made a simple shift on her knees, lost her balance, and consequently allowed the razor-sharp blades to bite into her hand and fingers. The medical technicians were hopeful that after extensive hand surgery and reconstruction, she would resume full use of her left hand and fingers.
Can I tell you that my new friend is one tough nut? They don't make steel any harder than her character constituency. I noticed that she was more concerned for her husband as he is walking through perhaps the early stages of dementia than she was herself. I saw how she did not want to trouble her son to let him know. She did seem disappointed in herself for her carelessness, but these were the only otherwise negative comments I heard from her over what grew to be three hours in the ER. Talk about grace under pressure.
Bottom line number 1: What lies hidden in my heart is apt to surface during times of trial. When I am under intense pressure and pain, like my dear Beatrice, how would I behave? What comes out of my mouth? Do I give full vent to my angst and anger and fear? (sometimes) Do I allow the negative emotions and feelings to roll over me and spill onto anyone in my path? (sometimes) At times, do I harbor selfish motives? (yep)
As I recounted the incident (with about twenty minutes of additional details and elaboration) to my boys, I sheepishly concluded, "She called me a Good Samaritan." Without missing a beat, my Matthew said, "Mom, you weren't the Good Samaritan. He was hated by the Jews, remember?" Kids always have a way of seeing things quite literally! Matthew was telling me that the context wasn't quite the same. (Good for you, Matthew!) And then my thoughts trailed to that verse in Isaiah that sometimes chides us: "all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment" (64:6).
Bottom line number 2: I can do all measure of outwardly good deeds (and as Christians we probably should!). Yet good deeds alone don't quite cut it for God. He is always in the heart business. How do I express gratitude to the Lord as I speak and go about my daily business? Am I focusing more on my good deeds or on the One for whom I work? Some folks do good deeds and they are pleased with themselves. End of story. Others do good deeds and God is pleased with them.
Her name is Beatrice.
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of
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