I had a telephone call the other day.
"I’ve been given your number because we don’t know what to do anymore. We understand you have a member in your church that is challenging… can be difficult to manage… can cause a scene?" (This really doesn’t narrow anything down!! – although not a betting man I would hazard a bet that she is referring to Patrick)
"well we’ve got one too… called Giles!"
"...great" I reply.
She’s a little non-plussed. "The trouble is he is causing a stir in our church and he smells…we don’t want to kick him out but we just don’t know what to do…we’ve bought him a washing machine…give him clothes…washing powder but it doesn’t make any difference…what do we do?"
"First of all recognise that the most important thing you can do is see Giles as a gift…" I preen myself. Such spiritual wisdom. Such insight.
Later I come tumbling off my pedestal. My attitude sucks. Patrick has been winding me up a treat. Last Saturday ringing the doorbell at 5:45am…. SATURDAY… 5:45…AM… to leave a dilapidated skateboard that he has found in the rubbish somewhere as a gift.....5:45am!!
Then that Sunday morning I was met with a tirade of abuse.
Then in the afternoon service in a quiet meditation at the key moment in crashes Patrick with a bundle of dodgy birthday cards “anyone’s birthday…?” I glare. Glower. Seethe. Boil. Churn.
A penny drops I think of my earlier conversation.
I make a note in my mind to sharpen up in my own attitude with Patrick – to see him in the same way that God does and thank God for giving us the gift that is Patrick.
Trouble is we are not so crash hot on doing that for 'the whosoever…!' It’s all so much easier to thank God for a gifted guitarist, a talented communicator, some who has responsibilities, a good job. …! It’s all so much easier to thank God for people like us that appeal to us. It’s all so much easier to thank God for designer people – but what about those that represent a challenge? The unappealing? Misfits?