Parish Practice
Parish Practice > Tales that open the heart

17 November 2016 | by David Wells

Tales that open the heart


If we make time to listen to and tell stories about one another’s lives, we may find that a surprising thing starts to happen: we come to see people in a different way, through the eyes of mercy

sitting at the top of a stairwell in a cosy corner of a school corridor was an old lady, knitting. Three children were gathered around her, totally absorbed and copying her every stitch. This picture is in notable contrast with the crazy frenetic pace of life in schools these days. Schools are calculated places of industry, of monitoring and progress. There is little time to stand and stare.

Amid all that busy-ness, this remarkable elderly fragile woman sat cheerfully chatting to children as they knitted together. “One time,” she told me, “a little girl started telling me about how dad didn’t come home anymore.” She reminded me that all the best conversations I have ever had with my sons were in the car. It dawned on me that it is often in the process of doing something else, we find it easier to talk. Driving and travelling allowed us to hear each other differently.

This woman was not knitting wool, she was knitting people. She was knitting with the patient mercy only the elderly can offer and it was in a school corridor, on a Friday afternoon, that it was happening.


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