Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I've written before about church services that I've been to in the UK recently which, for some hard-to-define reason, have slightly irritated me.

The same church runs a couple of services during the week aimed at retired people, or as they're called, "seniors". I've been to a few of these, and actually quite like them. There was one recently that featured a guest-speaker talking about how his organisation goes out to equip Anglican ministers in Africa. This week it was a video about hearing dogs for the deaf, complete with guest dog. Afterwards I usually chat to people, and get to help clear-up, which is what I tend to feel most at home doing.

Last Thursday I missed their healing service due to meeting David for a coffee at Starbucks. Afterwards I was poking around W H Smith, when I spotted one of the ladies from the group, who uses crutches. We had a brief chat, and she asked why I'd missed that morning!

Then on Saturday, on my way to the BFCC, I found a guy holding-onto the side of Richmond Bridge for support. He was drunk, and I realised I'd also seen him singing around the riverside a month or so back. I chatted to him, and got him onto a bus home.

Tonight I went to a PACT meeting at the church. ('Prayer and Action Changes Things') I was deliberately half an hour late as usual, because I know how church-groups usually spend that first half-hour.

We watched a video about water and sanitation in the third world, prayed, signed postcards and wrote campaign letters. (I'm going to fax mine)

Throughout the meeting, there was a homeless guy asleep in a chair next to me. Locking-up, we had to ask him to leave. It was even harder than that – his ankle and shin were wrapped-up in bandages. Bandages that had brown stains, and not because he'd spilt any of the coffee on offer down them.

Having listened to him for a bit, including his understandable concerns about amputation, I said "I'm not a doctor, but even I can see that that needs redressing." He agreed to let us phone for an ambulance, and I realised I was a bit useless without a mobile.

The ambulances, as it turned-out, were backed-up, so there would be a long wait of an unknown duration.

I was impressed with the way a girl there sat listening to him with such an overwhelming amount of sympathy. I was impressed because of my disconnection from any feelings for his plight. When she went outside to look for the ambulance, I took her seat again and got chatting with him about movies like Get Carter.

It was getting closer to midnight. I seemed to be the only one left without work in the morning, so in the end I took him on two buses across town to get to the A&E department of West Mid hospital.

Despite the full waiting-room, a nurse called him in instantly, however this initial examination was only a precursor to an estimated four-hour wait to be seen by a doctor. Well, I wasn't hanging around for that.

I walked back home, getting-in at about 1am.

Once more assisting, or maybe just talking to, individuals on the street holds the comfort of familiarity for me, but in all honesty, it's not something that I have a burning passion for. I see it as being a bit like doing the washing-up – it has to be done, so you do it on autopilot.

Basically, I have no love.

So according to that famous piece in 1 Corinthians, all my efforts are useless, right?

But then on the other hand, I like to think that my lack of any actual feelings for the guy also enabled me to be somewhat authentic with him. That girl who had been giving him so much sympathy, well I'll take that at face value and assume that she was being authentic too, but in a different way that I can't.

I feel the same way about the seniors' services that I've attended. I do like helping-out, but I've no real underlying passion. Or if I have, I can't feel it.

I just do it because it's the right thing to do.


2 comment(s):

At 3:20 am, Anonymous Rhett said...

Love isn't only a feeling, no matter what The Darkness said. ;-).

At 10:45 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

I agree, although Boston might argue that it's More Than A Feeling...



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