By Lucy Johnson
Today’s Gospel is about the Good Samaritan. Jesus told this story as an answer to the question “who is my neighbor?” Normally, when I hear this reading, I ponder how I can show mercy and be a neighbor to others. However my perspective has changed as I had the experience of being the person who needed and received help.
Last Fall, I walked the Camino in Spain by myself. The theme of my 40-day pilgrimage was trust and surrender. Although I walked alone, there are many others on the way. Yellow arrows are strategically placed to mark the direction. For me, the days were spent walking and praying among some of God’s most beautiful creation.
On the second to last day of my journey, my Good Samaritan story begins. That day would be one of my longest, so I got an early start about 2 hours before sunrise. When I left the hostel, it was pouring rain and very dark. I planned on taking a short-cut to save time and to avoid a large hill that I would have to walk up.
After about an hour, I realized that I was lost. I wasn’t on the way. In fact, I was in a highway construction zone. I couldn’t go back, so I kept going forward. Finally, I saw a car coming toward me which stopped. Perhaps he had seen my headlamp and would help. He appeared to be the foreman and instead of helping, he yelled at me in Spanish. I think he said, “Get out of here”. I could only reply “Camino?” and pantomime you-drive-me? His response was to lock the doors of his car, turn his back and walk away. Then a truck arrived. The middle aged driver slowed, but neither would he help me.
Finally a young man drove up. As I repeated my attempts to communicate, he said “Si” and allowed this dirty, wet old lady into his car. All I could say was “gracias” over and over. I had walked about an hour and a half out of the way and would not have found the path on my own. He took me right to where I needed to be and wouldn’t accept any of the money that I offered.
As I continue to ponder this experience, I am amazed that during the ordeal, I had inner peace. I wasn’t anxious or worried because I knew that God would protect me. In spite of the fact, that I lost the way trying to take short cuts and avoid hardships, God was faithful and there for me. He didn’t lose sight of me.
I am a slow learner as I am continually challenged to trust and surrender. I try to remember to face difficulties head-on knowing that God is always there. Being the person who needed help has given me a new appreciation of the Good Samaritan story. The rejection by those I thought would help and the assistance offered by the unlikely one opened my eyes to the how the living word is applicable in today’s world.
About the author:
Lucy Johnson lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband, Jeff. She has 7 children and 9 grandchildren. She is a pharmacist at Children’s Hospital and past-president of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. (ACCW 2013-2015). Her love of travel has taken her to 5 continents including Africa and Australia. A “Martha” working on her “Mary”, she walked the Camino in 2018.
Thanks for sharing, Lucy. I walked the Camino again this spring and my prayer intention for the month was 1) for those struggling with addiction to the Internet (porn, gambling, shopping, social media, etc) and 2) for those apostolates like WINE who heavily use the Internet for evangelism. Praise be to Jesus, who is our Way.
How many times have you walked the Camino? When I was walking, I couldn’t imagine anyone doing this more than once. Now that I’m back, I yearn for the wilderness and the journey
Thank you for sharing this story. You turkey are steeped in prayer to maintain such trust.
Thanks. It was a great educational experience in trust!
Truly not Turkey! Darn auto spell!
What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it!
Walking the Camino is on mine and my husband’s bucket list! Thank you, Lucy, for this look into your own personal diary of your experience there. You are very brave, and I need to trust that God is always with me as well. It’s not always easy, but your story encourages me to trust Him that much more in my everyday life! Thank you!!!
Gwen, I do hope that you and your husband walk the Camino. There are many ways and paths. No two journeys are the same, but there’s something about the shared experience and common goal with the other pilgrims that was unexpected. It gives me hope for the future. If you ever have questions about the Camino, I’d be glad to share the tips I learned.
Thanks for sharing, Lucy. God uses you in so many ways … And we are Blessed by it. May God continue to Bless … And use .. you!
Ditto Marcie! I’m glad we can share our journeys together.
Lucy, You knocked and Jesus let YOU in. Great story!
Thanks for the beautiful image and comment.
Beautiful story …. beautiful insight, reflection & learning…thank you for sharing, Lucy.
Thanks for the beautiful story! Kudos to you for walking the Camino alone….on my bucket list too, but never thought of going alone! Blessings
Sandy, the thought of “going alone” was sort of scary for both my family and me. Yet, something kept telling me to do this alone. Both my husband and sister really wanted to come, and it was hard to say no. However, since my return, I understand why I had to go alone: when I was lost or not sure of the way, the only person I could ask was God. Many early mornings I would sing “Lead me, Guide me…” If I had walked with others, I would have asked them “what do you think?” I did meet many people, and at times, I did walk with them – some over and over, some daily for an hour, but then I had my alone time with God! I would encourage you to consider going alone.