I haven't been too well this summer. Nothing serious: a cold in June developed into a cough that wouldn't go away, finally vanquished this week with a course of antibiotics. As a consequence, I didn't get out on the streets with Gloucested City Mission for the whole of August. My weakened state kept me tied to my iPad, and engaging with the campaign to elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Which was a whole lot of fun. However ...
Yesterday, I returned to the streets with renewed vigour and my friend Tom,
Problem: How do you stay friends with someone who holds views that you find unsettling. Tom is a street pastor, a Missioner, and a volunteer at a food bank, so he lacks neither kindness nor compassion. Nevertheless, he saw fit to 'put me right' on the issue of the refugees\migrants attempting to enter Europe. I won't bore you with the 'facts' that Tom had gleaned from the right-wing press. I listened patiently, after all I can neither confim nor deny the tales of corruption and deceit that Tom trotted out.
Finally, I found an incontovertible truth that I could respond with:
"I haven't got it in my heart,Tom, to condemn desperate people fleeing from disaster. How could I, when in their shoes, I'd do the same?"
In the turn of a phrase, I switched Tom from his head to his heart, and he was silent. I pray he stays there.