It Wasn’t Mine, But…

One day last week Elliott, a young man in his 20s, mentioned ‘Old Yeller’. I had a flashback…

I was a young boy in the 1950s going to the cinema for the first time – the ‘Florida’ in Caterham, Surrey – to see the Walt Disney film ‘Old Yeller’. I remember a boy befriending a dog that he called ‘Old Yeller’… I think the dog catches rabies protecting the boy and the dog has to be shot.

Old Yeller wasn’t my dog, but I remember feeling very sad…

Yesterday morning the air-ambulance landed near our house. It does sometimes. We thought nothing more of it. Later I had a phone call from my friend Shaun. He works with his 39-year-old nephew Martin…

Shaun was distraught… The day before yesterday Martin was sent home from work because he was sick. Yesterday Shaun learnt that Martin had died… totally unexpected and unexplained… the air-ambulance was for Martin – but it was too late.

Martin wasn’t my nephew, but in a small way I share Shaun’s grief.

I read yesterday of headteacher Flora Cooper who refused Ofsted inspectors entry to her school: ‘I could lose my job but I feel like if I don’t stand up for every child, every member of staff… the system will never change.’

This follows the death of fellow headteacher Ruth Perry who, after 32 years teaching, killed herself following an Ofsted inspection…

These weren’t my inspections, my schools, but I understand how Ruth Perry felt, and how Flora Cooper feels…

Last night it was our church home group. Reflecting on the events leading up to Easter we looked as Isaiah 53… the picture of the suffering servant ‘ …pierced for our transgressions, …crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.’

This wasn’t my suffering… but through Old Yeller… Shaun and his family… Ruth and Flora… my reflections last night… perhaps I understand it a bit better.

3 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Mine, But…

  1. The ability to empathize with others helps us to understand each other better and care about one another–even across the centuries (as in the case of Jesus, considering what he went through for us). We seem to be losing that ability in the USA, maybe other countries too. I wonder how we get it back?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nancy I agree. It’s not just in the US. It’s here in the UK too. I can spend a lot of time talking about what could be or should be. As I get older I’m more persuaded that my job is to show empathy and compassion. It seems to me that that was Jesus’ most powerfulmethod of teaching.

      Liked by 1 person

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