I have been trying to go for a swim at the Waterfront whenever I can. Often, because of various things, I cannot get there. I find that when I do go it is very beneficial in so many ways.
Last Thursday evening I was running a bit late but calculated that I could still manage a swim before it got dark.
I was on the way out when I heard the doorbell ring. I was the only one at home. I could see that an elderly lady was at the door. She had already rung twice in a row; I was already mildly irritated at the quick succession of the ringing. I guessed that she was wanting something to eat or drink. Many people often come to the door looking for food or drink.
I had a fleeting temptation not to go the door. I thought the better of it and, with a smile, went to the door.
She wanted cold water, and as I was walking in to get it, she added ‘and a sandwich’.
I came back with cold water and the sandwich.
Then I asked her for her name. She looked at me with a smile and her eyes light. She gave me her name.
There was connection, a human encounter. It became a ‘special’ moment.
I asked her where she came from and she told me. I wished her well and then went off for my swim.
As I was driving I felt that something special and good had happened. The following day I still felt the impact of that very simple, but real, encounter.
So many times when I am gardening at the front of the cathedral grounds, people go past. My practice is to say “good day”. So often a previously serious face lights us, and with a smile greets me back.
I need to keep reminding myself not to become too task orientated. I need to remember to actually connect with people who come across my path, to do so intentionally.
Is this not a beloved son or daughter of God? Is this not a person of incredible dignity?
How easy it is to let our fears and insecurities get in the way of being genuinely human.
Remember the story of the Good Samaritan who was a stranger to the man attacked by robbers? Remember how respectable people who should have known better were so task orientated that they walked by on the other side and left the poor man half dead on the road.
Jesus told that story giving us a very practical example of loving our neighbour.