A little heart-warmer for a brisk but beautiful autumn day ...
Recently, a man came to my door. He was a nice bloke, just one in a certain amount of difficulty. He was quick to reassure me that he wasn't at my door for pocket-change, or a sandwich, or even to propagate some wonky proto-Scriptural sentiment.
Indeed, the man in question claimed to be at my door to offer me, of all things, some feedback. I confess that I wondered where this may be leading, and as I hadn't recently delivered a seminar to middle-management or else to ordinands, such as demand a crisp white A4 sheet for application of like feedback. No, I was (at that moment) mid-holiday, shabby chic and half asleep! Maybe he had seen into the kitchen window and wanted to invite me to show some pride in my appearance, I don't know!
No - he came bearing feedback of something that made my day.
He was, as I have said, in a certain amount of difficulty - difficulty that manifested itself in his attire and demeanor. He had been sitting on the steps that lead to the back door of the church building, looking like a man in difficulty. He told me all about it. Then it happened. The faithful starting arriving for the early Eucharist when not one, not two, but three of the passing ladies didn't give him a wide berth, but went up to him. They asked if he was alright and if there was anything that they could do to help him. He graciously declined and they went on their way.
The man wanted me to know that those ladies hadn't gone out of their way to avoid him. They didn't look away and pretend he wasn't there. They approached and they asked. He wanted me to know how touched he was by their kindness. They had gently invited him to the service but didn't push the point. They didn't reprimand him for being where he was, but met him there. They made his day. They made him snap out of the mental anguish that he was enduring at that moment and caused him to realise that life had hope, that people were good. He told me all about it and thanked me for my flock and for what they had done to help him through a very dark day.
He also told me that once he had gathered his thoughts, and when the service had ended, that he went into the church to play some hymns on the piano that we have. He is a concert pianist apparently. Was that ok, he asked me? I should say!
No Vicar glowed with greater pride than I did that day. We rather boldly claim here that we are "the heart of Christ in the heart of Whitton", a claim it seems that we can make with some justification.