What do you say?

Charles Cowling

I was at Bristol Temple Meads and a five-hour train journey lay ahead. A party of young people boarded and a girl headed straight for my dog collar. “Can I talk to you, Reverend?” It had all the hallmarks of a “chat up the vicar” joke and I was tired. But no. Three hours earlier her boyfriend, a long-term depressive, had intentionally taken a lethal dose of tablets and she had discovered him dead in their flat. He could no longer face the pain of his existence and she was travelling to her parents for comfort.

Read the whole article in the Guardian here. Worth it.

 

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Jonathan
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Jonathan

How good to hear a man of God holding back and understanding; knowing his god’s compassion and humbleness, and imitating them so manfully.

Good on you, Reverend Bryant.

gloria mundi
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Moving. The young woman was fortunate to encounter such wisdom and compassion at random on a train journey. The rev calls himself “inadequate,” whereas he sounds to me very skilled and effective, as well as wise.

Maybe sometimes we over-rate action and fail to see the value of attentive quiet and a few careful questions.

Thanks Charles, this adds to what we’ve been discussing about what/not to say to recently bereaved people.

james
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Brilliant clerical restraint, and common-or-garden humanity writ large. Another fantastic portrait of life in our times. Again, thank you.