founder of naked leader

This one’s for you Mary

Naked Leader Week – 57 -Monday 31 May 2004

Rosalind and I went away for the weekend, and on Sunday we went to Salisbury Cathedral, and attended morning service.

Because it was the congregational, rather than full, choir, we sat in the choir stalls – right at the heart of events.

I like to attend the occasional church service, and when I do, I simply absorb what is happening – the singing, the readings, the whole atmosphere. However, sitting next to me was a lady who insisted on looking after me! She pointed out how to follow the service, which hymn book to use and when to do what. She was so caring and kind I went along with all of her advice.

At the end of the service I thanked her, and learned her name was Mary and she is 78. She walked slowly with a stick, so Rosalind and I offered to help her home. As we walked she shared her family history, everything she knew about Salisbury, in fact talked non-stop, periodically apologising for talking so much.

She had nothing to apologise for, as we walked together arm in arm I found myself truly living in, and enjoying each and every moment.

We walked slowly, and it took some 30 minutes to reach her home, in a small sheltered housing development. She said she usually does the walk in 10 minutes, which means she either uses a skateboard normally, or it was me who was walking slower!

As we arrived at her door and said goodbye, something happened that I will remember for the rest of my life. She thanked us, and then burst into tears. We thought we had upset her in some way, however as Rosalind hugged her, Mary said she was crying with happiness because of the “kindness” we had shown her.

And it made me think. Her route home was the way we would have walked anyway, walking with her was no inconvenience to us, and it was a privilege to listen to, and learn from her. I suddenly realised how many people of Mary’s age, and younger/older, who feel lonely, and who value human interaction so much.

How many people are there in our families, our neighbours and our lives that we can reach out to in this way?

I learned a lot from you Mary, in a world so bent on speed, you slowed me down for 30 minutes, and I thank you for it.

With love to you all, wherever you are




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