neighbors

When I awoke I could barely move for the pain; I didn’t know where I was, and I didn’t know how I had gotten there. I could hear, from some nearby room, laughter and conversation. Eventually a woman came to my door and asked how I was doing.

“Who are you?” I managed to ask, though it hurt me to speak. I could feel with my tongue that I had lost teeth, and I could see through one eye only. Every breath made my ribs ache.

“My husband and I keep this inn,” she said, and then she told me about the man who had found me and brought me to safety. When I arrived, she said, the stranger had already washed me as best he could and bandaged the worst of my wounds. He gave them money to take care of me. “And we will do right by you,” she said. “He promised that when he comes this way again he’ll pay us for any added expense. So you just rest up, and I’ll bring you some soup. You won’t be going anywhere for a few days.” And then as she was leaving she looked back and said, “He was a Samaritan, you know.”

Now that’s odd, I thought as I lay back and tried to breathe without hurting myself. I didn’t, and don’t, remember the man at all — I didn’t, and don’t, remember anything after the moment the first blow from the robbers knocked me to the ground. They’re wicked men, of course, but I should’ve known better than to take that road at that time of night. I was trying to save time; I was in a hurry to get some business done. I was a fool.

But to think that a stranger passing by, and a Samaritan at that, stopped to care for me! — what an encouragement. It makes me think that all these years I’ve been too cynical about people. Sure, there are some bad ones in the world — don’t I know it! — but in the end, surely, human nature is essentially good. I must remember that.