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Viewpoint from Keith Morris 02/02/2018

KM VP 29 FEB 2013Keith Morris

publisher of the Christian community website

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


My own modern-day parable

On a recent visit to London for an editors’ meeting, I suddenly found myself in the middle of my own modern-day parable – but did I learn anything from it?
Walking from Oxford Street tube station, I had ten minutes to spare before my meeting so sat down in a small London park to read a book
dove leftI was almost immediately approached by an agitated lady who told me she was homeless and asked for ten pounds to help pay for a night in a nearby night shelter
I don’t know about you, but I am often in a quandary in such situations. Should I hand over some money which will undoubtedly be spent on drink or drugs (and my acquaintance had already imbibed one or the other), or should I just ignore her?
I politely declined the request but she did not take kindly to this, spat at me, swore loudly and walked away
A woman sitting quietly next to me was aghast – as was I
I got up, wiped the spit away from my jacket and continued to my meeting wondering what I should have done
After much soul searching on my train journey home, I now realise that I should have taken the homeless woman at her word (or at least called her bluff) and asked her to take me to the night shelter and paid her bill for the night, or at least offered to take her to a sandwich shop
Dove rightWas being on time for my meeting really more important than this woman’s plight
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to see if I had learnt my lesson and, prompted by my London experience, I joined the team on a regular soup run in Norwich run by the church I attend, Gateway Vineyard
Each Saturday morning the group take soup, sandwiches and dog food to Big Issue sellers and other homeless people on the city centre streets of Norwich
As well as offering them something to eat and drink (though no money) the team also shows an interest in them as people and takes the time to stop and chat and find out how they are. Almost all are now on first name terms with the team and are happy to see them
I hope I have learnt my lesson and plan to join the team again soon


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