Herring Gulls and Unsatisfactory Answers

I was walking along the beach this morning. There were the usual early-morning swimmers, joggers, dog-walkers. A herring gull paddled beside a gent walking by the water’s edge. It looked up at him and walked alongside him for about 20 metres.

Perhaps the gull momentarily bonded with the man; perhaps the man has strange powers – he’s a gull-whisperer; perhaps it was a picture of man’s relationship with nature or a sign from God…

Unsatisfactory answers?

I went to the doctor’s for a check-up. Nurse-Rachael checked my blood pressure, cholesterol, weight… My weight and waist measurement have increased!

Perhaps my weight and dimensions are redistributing… I’m reaching the age of contentment… I’m just getting fatter?

‘It’s your changing metabolism,’ she said. Unsatisfactory answer?

I visited a good friend yesterday. He feels unwanted, rejected by his church, the church that he’s attended since he was a boy. ‘If you don’t like it, find another church,’ he was told.

I could have talked about strong faith, answered prayers, God’s will, churches moving forward. All seemed trite clichés; unsatisfactory answers. We both shed a tear.

I concluded this morning’s beach walk sitting on ‘Kathryn’s bench’. Kathryn tragically died in a road traffic accident 10 years ago. I often sit there and say a prayer for friends coping with bereavement…

I thought of friends who’ve recently lost love ones; friends who are in the process of losing loved ones though terminal illness or dementia… I imagined them sitting beside me. I had no wise words, no answers to their questions. I could only sit with them. I shed a few more tears.

Musing… St Paul’s wise words: ‘Love must be sincere… be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves… Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another… Do not be conceited.’ (Romans 12:9-16)

…This isn’t about unsatisfactory answers to life’s tough questions, but sitting alongside friends with compassion, loyalty, empathy and humility.

6 thoughts on “Herring Gulls and Unsatisfactory Answers

  1. “If you don’t like it, find another church,’ he was told.” That is a shocking thing to say to anyone – where was the evidence of God’s grace in that comment???😢

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  2. “If you don’t like it, find another church,’ he was told.” That is a shocking thing to say to anyone – where was the evidence of God’s grace in that comment???😢

    Like

  3. St Paul had it right. A lot of us tend to shun those who are suffering…it’s hard to bear one another’s burdens for various reasons. Putting others before ourselves…it can be tricky.

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