<-- Google Analytics START --> <-- Google Analytics END -->

john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, December 30, 2002
    Margaret and Eric
    I don't know how old Margaret is. She's an established octogenarian, that's for sure. But she's a regular fixture on the St Luke's annual post-Christmas walk, as I am. And although at times she needs a bit of assistance - there was the time she had to be carried across a ford, for example - she's marvellously fit really, still cycling around Crosby, still a swimmer.

    And so there we were today, Margaret and I, sitting together on the coach having completed a satisfying little walk on a surprisingly dry day, around some headland near Grange-over-Sands. As Margaret regained her breath we were making what I thought was small talk until she dropped something massive into it.
      J: "That was an interesting walk..."
      M: "I wouldn't say interesting ... more, er ..."
      J: "Challenging?"
      M: "Challenging. Yes. But following Jesus is challenging, isn't it?"
    Well, I, the professional religious was caught off guard by this. I'd forgotten that I was following Jesus; I'd just been following the guy with the map. But .. yes.. yes .. yes ..! It may read like a banal statement, but coming from a woman of great substance it sounded profound to me. It opened my eyes. Taught me something about the source of her great energy, for one thing.

    Margaret had been for many years, part of a great double act. Her husband, Eric, was a straightforward man, humble but gifted, self-taught, self-read in many subjects, whose greatest gift was of encouragement via letter-writing. Over our post-walk pub meal a few of us reminisced about the letters we'd received from Eric over the years. Often long and rambling but always packed full of words designed to infuse the recipient with good faith, self-worth, etc. I carry round with me a quote from one of Eric's letters. It originated from another, almost equally great man of letters, Plato: "Be neither an enemy of men, nor ideas". I cherish these people.