It was over a year ago that I sat on the bench and listened to Maureen (here).
As I walked back from dropping the girls off at school there was Maureen sat on the bench. I wandered over and sat with her. This was time I was not going to rush, this time it was not going to be superficial. This time I was determined to sit and listen for as long as it took.
Things are better for Maureen now. Sid her husband with schizophrenia has settled well into his new surroundings and the pressure that saw Maureen lashing out at us and the church has lessened. Maureen is happy again. We sat on the bench listened to each other, talked to each other, laughed with each other. We sat on the bench shared something together and watched the world go by together. We sat on the bench and had time for each other. I was benefitting from this. It was doing me good.
Maureen stood up to leave.
"Listen Gordon I need to get my shopping..."
I smiled as I walked back to get on with my day. I thought of the gift of time. Sometimes it is far to easy to treat people as pastoral commodities to be sqeezed into our 'oh so important' schedules. Sometimes it is far too easy to patronise through our allocation of time, far to easy to allot time as a favour.
My time with Maureen - sat on a park bench - reminded me that sometimes it is far too easy to forget that time works both ways.