By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
She has been gone now for many years. Our children were small and she lived not far from our home. She rarely enjoyed the pleasure of anyone’s company. When I stumbled upon her, it was at a time when I was involved in delivering sacks of groceries for a church effort. But my encounter with her changed me forever.
Out first visit was not like a first visit at all. She acted as though we were old friends. Delighted to see anyone, she asked me to sit and visit. A bone disease had crippled her frail body. This left her humped over, not even able to look a visitor in the eye. She would just turn her head sideways so she could see me.
Cora was happy in spite of her physical condition and emotional aloneness. She noticed the beautiful weather and appreciated so much me taking the time to stop by. She even said, “I think young people are so sweet and thoughtful these days. There are so many good people in the world.” I was a little taken back. She certainly did not take the normal view of “young people these days.”
On that first visit, I left her tiny mobile home and made a vow to try and return about once a month to check on her. Sometimes I would take food, a book or a magazine. Once I took flowers out of my yard. But it didn’t matter if I came empty handed — she just enjoyed my company.
Our visits lasted for a period over five years. Then the time came when I went back to teaching school full-time, and I found it more difficult to find the time to go by her house. But every time I stopped, she happily greeted me at the door.
One day I went by. It had been about two months since I had visited. She came to the door in her humped over fashion, bright and beautiful eyes sparkling as if she were in perfect physical form.
“Oh come in Honey, I am so glad to see you!” she answered hoarsely.
I surmised that she had been sick because her voice was so hoarse and huskily low. So I said, “Have you been sick? Have you seen a doctor?”
But what I found out made me sad because she had not been sick at all. “Oh I am not sick. I have just not used my voice. The last time I talked to someone was last week so I guess the hoarseness is from that,” she said.
No visitors, no phone calls, no communication with anyone … just the aloneness of being at home with one’s self.
Jesus told the story to a teacher of the law, an educated man of his day, about a man on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. (Luke 10:25-37). All the “religious” people passed him by but