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Good Samaritan

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From Mary Ellen Edmund's Book "Love is a Verb"

You're late for something? …It may be that you're late because someone needs you. Have you ever thought that someone somewhere may be pleading with Heavenly Father for help and you may be the one chosen to help answer that prayer? The Good Samaritan may have been on his way to a prayer meeting or some other important appointment, but he was willing to stop and fill a need. If we're willing, God will use us.

Love requires courage. To share in Christ's way is a courageous undertaking. Do it. Do it now. Respond to promptings that come.
We must not ever ignore an impulse to serve when there's something we could do. When it's within our power to give love, we should never withhold it. If we feel compassion or empathy without doing something, we may diminish our power to act, to respond.
I find that I think of kind things more often than I do kind things. I'll get an idea, a prompting, but then too many times I chicken out. When I do respond, I have great adventures.

Once I was in a store standing in line to check out. (I have lots of experiences with that particular activity, and I almost always get in the slowest line; I don't know if it's a gift or a talent.) Anyway, I noticed that the woman behind the checkout counter seemed to be in a less-than-pleasant mood. She kind of locked horns with a person ahead of me in line. I couldn't really hear or tell exactly what happened, but the clerk was not happy. A little prompting came inside of me: "Say something nice to her." "I don't want to." "She needs it." (Do you ever have conversations like this with the still small voice?) "She'll bite my head off." Back and forth it went. I was getting closer. My heart was pounding the way it does when you sit in a testimony meeting and you know you're going to get up and you also know you're going to die at the pulpit.

And then I was there, right up close to her. She was punching the keys and all. And this is what came out of my mouth: "Are you having a bad day?" It came out kindly and gently and seemed to catch her way off guard. She looked at me, getting ready to bite, and then said, "Does it show?" "Kind of." She then told me that yes, she was having a very hard, bad, ugly day, and she told me some of the reasons why.

I didn't know what to do. I was screaming at the still small voice in my mind, "Now what? You didn't tell me what to do next!" But it came out: "Can I do anything to help you?" She looked at me with this what-in-the-world kind of look. It was an awkward moment. Then I said, "I know how to take out the trash." And we both laughed.

We continued talking to each other as she finished ringing up my purchases. She thanked me as I left, and I felt so happy I was grinning—not just smiling, but grinning. I felt good all over. I'm not sure if that little exchange did much for the woman at the checkout, but it made a huge difference in my day and is a sweet memory even now, years later.

Love as a verb is often spontaneous. It consists of things we think of on the spur of the moment, promptings to reach out and have the courage to be kind. It can be as simple as helping someone lift groceries into a car or picking up a little child who has fallen down. Let's not make spontaneous acts of love and kindness the exception to the rule. As my friend George Durrant says, "When it comes to giving, some people stop at nothing." I hope that will never be true of me.