One of my favourite local stories this week is of Kylie Thompson who was shopping at the Lowestoft ‘Tesco’ with her son Riley-Jay. When she got to the checkout Riley-Jay started screaming and hitting out – ‘He was having a full-blown meltdown.’
Some of us can empathise – we’ve been there!
A member of the public helped Kylie restrain Riley-Jay and carry him outside. In Kylie’s words: ‘In all the commotion I realised I’d left my shopping bags and even my glasses at the till, but was met outside by some lovely staff members who brought my things and told me ‘it was on them’ and I didn’t have to pay anything.
‘…I was so worried that people would think he was just a really naughty child and me the mother who couldn’t keep her son under control. But actually, nobody was judging me at all. They realised it wasn’t his fault.’
‘I left the shop feeling reassured and relieved instead of embarrassed.’
Johnny Cash was known as a singer who always wore black. He wrote a song to explain why:
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.
Tesco’s staff members and Johnny Cash remind me that in an imperfect, suffering world we need:
- Empathy – non-judgemental acceptance and understanding.
- Immediate practical help and support where there’s a need.
- Reassurance and relief for the struggling
I’m with Johnny Cash – the way of empathy, practical help and reassurance is the way of Jesus.