Saturday, December 25, 2010


It was September 1992.  Mom was in trouble.  Big trouble.  She had often faced significant challenges throughout the years, and just as often, called out for help from family for some sort of financial salvation.  Even as a child myself (Mom’s only child), I had been repeatedly pressed to do my part to bail her out from her most current circumstances.  These events always strained me—financially, physically, emotionally—and eroded my abilities and even my desire to provide support, though duty held me to the course.

Now age 64 and partially-disabled, Mom was in Sacramento, California, living on her early Social Security retirement income.  She was without a car and used one of those battery-powered scooters to help her travel most distances, and while traversing through fair grounds one night, she unwittingly ran her lower leg into a protruding piece of rebar and gashed it wide open.  Infection set in and she became further disabled.  At the time, she shared the expense of apartment living with a roommate—one whom she came to trust and revere as a friend in relatively short order.  After attaining a measurable level of recuperation, she agreed that the roommate should feel comfortable to leave for a desired two-week visit with a family member. 

Those two weeks, however, turned into a month, then longer, before Mom reluctantly and sadly gave into her fears that the roommate had left entirely.  The so-called visit had been a façade; realizing the shelled appearance of an intended return cut her to the marrow.  Mom was abandoned.  What’s more, having already endorsed her Social Security check over to her roommate to pay her share of the rent, she learned that the rent went unpaid.  An uncompassionate landlord presented an eviction order and threatened, most severely, a lock-out by the Sheriff.  Sadly, Mom returned to alcohol for release, which she had successfully quit a few years before, following a lifetime of addiction. 

In her soulfully-injured condition, she called and begged me to turn chaos into order.  So uncertain of what immediate recourse I might take, especially being 900 miles away, I took inventory of my financial condition once more.  It didn't have to take long.  I already knew.  In just three month’s time, it was my plan to return to the University of Arizona full-time and complete my degree.  I was 31 years old and had grown weary of the meager salary that my technical vocation had afforded me.  According to plan, then, I would soon be without an income at all, dependent almost fully on school loans to see me through.  Now, given our history together, I was expected to also find a way to support my mother once her predicament was revealed.  I labored to sustain Mom emotionally, and objectively researched her situation in Sacramento, calling upon a few key people for understanding and guidance.  And, I prayed—much.  Still, the biggest part of me desperately wanted to run.

One Sunday evening in mid-September, I attended a satellite broadcast of a fireside at my Church, that I might find spiritual relief for my own self and temporarily escape the pressures of my mother’s situation.  During that fireside, the story of The Good Samaritan was presented.  I had heard it and read it many times before:
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
(Luke 10:30-35)

Suddenly, I was profoundly and undeniably struck with a realization and a spiritual witness.  Samaritans are known to have been most despised in the region.  Similarly, Jesus was “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3).  Having understanding, I saw that the Savior was, himself, The Good Samaritan.  And, though my mother had been stripped of her money and abandoned by her supposed friend (yet, a thief); though she was wounded without and within; though her landlord had not compassion on her; though even her only child had considered passing by on the other side; even then, the Savior readily sought to bind up her wounds and carry her to a place of safety, where she might be nursed to health again.

And so it was that I was called to act in another role in this story—
the Innkeeper. 

My heart and throat swelled, my cheeks flushed, and tears intensely poured down my face and neck.  It was such an astonishing and singular spiritual event that all attempts to describe it in mere words are defied.  Fear not was the Lord’s word to me.  My mother would be delivered to me for care and healing.  I would be sustained in all ways, financially and otherwise.  Then and there, the Lord promised me that if I were found lacking at the end of the day, I would be repayed.  And so he did. And so he has. And so he will.

I was the Innkeeper.  Me.  That great privilege and honor was bestowed upon me!

It should not take long to discern what any of us might have wished to have done differently if called to fulfill the role of a certain Innkeeper—some 2,000 Christmases ago at a little town called Bethlehem—when Our Savior’s birth was imminently at hand. 

Take a moment.  Reflect upon your senses.  It may transform your life’s direction, interactions and relationships with others, and personal reservoirs, as it did for me.


Lynette said...

Reading this was the perfect way to end a perfect Christmas day. I had always understood the first layer of the parable of the Good Samaritan--that we are to follow His example and be neighbor to those in need. A few years ago I came to understand that Jesus is the Good Samaritan who binds up our wounds--physical and spiritual. But I had missed your understanding of the role we are actually fulfilling as we serve others. Thank you for helping me find a deeper layer of this parable and humbly recognize how as the Lord asks me to become an innkeeper for Him, the Good Samaritan, that it is His grace that enables me to fulfill that role.

Jill said...

Thank you Jacki... beautiful.

Reflections of Heart said...

I hope you don't mind, I put a link to your post from my blog. I love this personal experience you have shared. I am going to print it out and share it with my Father who is caring for my Grandmother right now, and it is difficult. Thank you so so much. Thank you for your prayers and humor to me when I need it. You are so cute! Merry Christmas to you my friend!
You have been an answer to prayer many times.


Skinhorse said...

"And so he did. And so he has. And so he will."

Somehow, these words were inadvertently cut from my original posting. They are actually crucial to the retelling of the story, since they broadly share the concept that, indeed--for me and my house--ALL things WERE and ARE and WILL BE taken care of by the Master.

So after taking care to fix the story, I insert them here again to underscore their importance.

Thank you for reading.

the Marvelous Mrs. M said...

Beautiful. You have such a poets way with words. Thank you for sharing.

Milky @ women said...

Thank you Jacki... very nice.