Norman was a different man tonight. It is our Men’s get together – Poplar Men Together (PMT) a Bar-B-Q at our house and Norman is here. He takes over the grilling that’s what he does well. He starts talking – he seems to do that well too!
Five days ago he was desperate, devastated, inconsolable. We spent time together - prayed. His wife was stabbed trying to stop thieves stealing her niece’s car was now in hospital in Botswana. Norman was beside himself, the grief, pain, anguish of a man thousands of miles from his wife not knowing was tangible. Not much you can say really. But listen.
That was five days ago. Tonight Norman is different – the relief on this lonely man’s face was obvious. The wound is not as severe as first thought and she will be out of hospital. I look around the range of men each with a story to tell and I see something special - I see a beauty in community. Compassion. Concern. Interest. Inclusion. I see something of the kingdom of God in this community of diversity.
This time last year Norman was on his own – his community was him. An existence of solitude within a hostel surrounded by people. It is good that now Norman has people he can share the good as well as the bad news. It is good that now Norman has people he can cry with as well as laugh. It is good that now Norman has people he can share his frustrations as well as his joys.
I’m pleased Norman found us – the fact that he is a brilliant chef is just a bonus!?