Thursday, July 24, 2014

CP 254 Well, that made me stop and think...



CP 254 Well, that made me stop and think…
This week’s CrossPurposes is a jumbled collection of things I’ve heard people say that just stopped me and made me think. There’s nothing particularly spiritual about them, and yet in some way they truly are. I’m just recording, not lessonizing! I’ll start with an explanatory tale from almost 30 years ago. (I’m going to highlight all the unexpected responses in bold italics.)
Occasion 1. A member of the Immanuel Church named Maria was experiencing declining health and facing the loss of one of her feet due to poor circulation. We prayed for her at worship but nothing seemed to change. She was miserable. Once, when I called on her, that frustration was raw. I said to her something like, ‘Maria, I wish I had a magic wand and could wave it over your leg and fix it. I just feel helpless.’ She replied something like, ‘You’re helping me just by being here.’
Occasion 2. A couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with my friend Nan who lives in Queanbeyan, near Canberra. She has had her share of suffering and misery in the last 15 months. Nan’s husband Jack had a severe stroke in July 2014. He was hospitalised for months, did rehab for months, and was in respite while she had an urgently needed knee replacement. Now he is home, but is unable to be the ‘I’ll-take-care-of-it-man’ he used to be. And he has not recovered speech. During that phone call we talked about their situation. Then we switched to reflecting on a recent CrossPurposes blog. We talked for about half an hour. As we closed the call she said to me, ‘Thanks for the intelligent conversation.’
Occasion 3. Recently, while driving, I heard an interview conducted by the ABC’s Richard Fiedler with a-now-Australia based, Pakistani comedian named Sami Shah. Their talk turned to him being held up at gunpoint in Karachi. He mentioned that everybody in Karachi can expect to be held up sometime. The local joke apparently is that if you haven’t been held up you must be the person with the gun! Anyway, the armed thief demanded his wallet and phone. With the gun still at his head, this is what he said: ‘You’ve got my wallet and phone. Now at least leave me with my anger!’ As he said it he thought, ‘What an idiotic thing to say.’ The thief began to laugh, then Sami himself began to laugh. They belly-laughed together. Then the thief handed back both his wallet and phone!.
Occasion 4. Wonderful Joe, a member of our Campbelltown church brought his trailer to a working-bee to help pick up turf for a lawn. Afterwards, Mick thanked him. Joe’s response? ‘Thanks for asking.’
Occasion 5. Again this week in a morning radio interview… A young poet/author, (didn’t catch his name), who grew up in Queanbeyan, was talking about his latest book about the darker side of his home town. ‘Part of art is extending sympathy where it has not yet been extended.’
Occasion six. From an article by Sarah Malik entitled, ‘When tragedy strikes, even onlookers can suffer.’ It’s about being visually overwhelmed by graphic images from disasters and horribleness like Ukraine and Gaza. It includes a quote from Melbourne psychologist Monique Toohey: ‘What you see cannot be unseen. I use this statement with my clients who find themselves replaying horrific images and videos in their mind, hours and days after they were exposed to them in their Facebook or Twitter feeds.’ (I, Fred, want to tell you something arising from that thought in a future CrossPurposes.)
My only comment on these things? Sometimes it’s the from-left-field comments which reveal deep and unthought needs…
Be blessed this week.
Fred

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