Several years ago, I worked in a hospital emergency room, greeting patients and families as they entered the ER. My responsibility was to see that everyone was as comfortable as possible while waiting for treatment. Just a few months into my employment, I began to know our “regulars.” These were folks whose emotional pain was deeper than the physical. Some were there to medicate their heartache as they found the strength to cry out for help. My own heart ached for them each time they stepped through the door. The memories of my own struggles were revived as each soul came up to my desk and asked for help.

My mid-twenties were filled with angst. Self-harm did nothing to ease the pain I felt from the loss and disappointment I’d experienced. It was if I was lying alongside the road, beat up and emotionally bleeding, but my faith community walked by on their way to minister to others. Fellow believers weren’t sure what to do with emotional issues that intersected faith. Trying to find out where I fit in a world that changed the mold everyday left me seeking life where there was only death. Stepping away from my faith, I thought I had found solace in a world where more folks were willing to be my “neighbor.”

The parable of the good Samaritan is a staple in Sunday school curriculum. Jesus, while being tested by the religious leaders, told this story in response to a question intended to discredit him. He revealed the heart of a God whose commandment to love the Lord extends to one just like it: “Love your neighbor.” The leaders unsatisfied, their question “Who is my neighbor?” led to a discussion even his disciples didn’t see coming. In that emergency room, now in my mid-forties, I began to realize how this story intersected with the stories I saw in the ER.

Read the rest at The Glorious Table.

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