One of my sons sent me a link this winter to an NPR documentary series about poverty. One of the installments mentioned the story of Randy and Jodi Speidel of Bellefontaine and he wondered what we remembered. To my deep dismay, I remembered nothing.
On April 14, 2015, their bodies were discovered in their bedroom with the means of producing the carbon monoxide that ended their lives. They had penned their cats outside and left a note on the door warning of the danger of entering. Their discouragement with their physical and financial limitations seemed to have extinguished their sense of dignity and hope. I have discovered that feature articles were written in large city newspapers in this and other countries and the story was also picked up by national magazines. And I remembered nothing.
One of the better known stories about Jesus is when he responded to the question “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). As was often the case, he responded with a story and his own question. My understanding of the Good Samaritan is that he made correct use of opportunity. He did not turn away from a problem that others had avoided and when he truly saw it, he made room in his own schedule to respond directly and kindly.
I did not know Jodi and Randy but from what I’ve read about them I think I would have liked them. I do not know if I would have seen the evidence of their desperation. To them I say that I will now never forget you. To their daughters I give my sympathy. For myself and others who might agree I seek wisdom and courage for eyes that see, ears that hear and a heart that responds kindly.
Russ Miller, Bellefontaine