Skip to main content

Call and Response

By Belinda

It was July 26, just over two weeks ago, when Paul and I, along with Paul's cousins, Stephen and Sam, and two friends, Arthur and Liz, drove high into the Malvern Hills, a place of immense beauty, to scatter Uncle John's ashes.
(A quick aside: I found a link here to some breathtaking photographs that capture the dramatic and glorious landscape.)
I've wanted to tell this brief story ever since.

I had met Arthur and Liz, Uncle John's friends, in the past, but I only knew them slightly and knew nothing about them. I just knew that they respected and loved Uncle John. 

The weather on the hills changed every few minutes. While we   prayed and scattered the ashes, the rain held off, but before the storm clouds shadowed the fields below us I took advantage of what sun I could, and ran around taking photographs. 


As I returned to the group I heard Arthur discussing something with Paul. What grabbed my attention were the words, "I am the only one in my entire family who is a Christian." 

For me, I had to ask, "Please tell me your story;"  for it's the story I never get tired of hearing.

So he told me, at least this bit, that I have to share.

Arthur, back in the late 1970's, was an executive in the Austin Motor Company, part of British Leyland in Longbridge during an era of turbulence and tremendous upheaval.  He was involved in the intense political situation with Derek Robinson, referred to in the press as "Red Robbo," due to his membership in the Communist party.  

Dad and Rob were among the vast number of employees at Longbridge. Robinson was a proponent of the measured day work system rather than piecework, which explains why Dad was always in trouble with the union for working too hard. Robinson was reported by the BBC to have been behind over 500 walk outs at Longbridge, costing over 200 million pounds in lost production. 

It was during this time of intense pressure that Arthur, one sleepless night, got up and went out for a walk at 4.00 a.m. He was at a point of desperate stress, and found himself throwing out an invitation to the God he didn't believe in: "If you exist, please show me." 

He had no idea where those words even came from, but he immediately noticed a man was walking towards him. The man stopped and said, "You seem lost."

"Yes, I am a little lost," said Arthur.

The man was a Franciscan; a member of a Roman Catholic order; and he invited Arthur back to his home to talk. That was the start of Arthur's faith story--almost a sort of Damascus Road experience! I wish I had asked more questions but the rain was starting and everyone was scattering in all directions. 

One of my favourite portrayals of God speaking to someone is found in this Call and Response song from the movie, The Color Purple, where Shug Avery hears God's call and responds! I cry when I watch it, just as I wanted to when Arthur told his story.
2 comments

Popular posts from this blog

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.


He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf

By Belinda (with a lot of help from Susan :))
I was saying goodnight to her at the front door this week when she told me. There was apparently more to the scarf around her neck than I knew. 
The scarf had been a gift from me for Susan's birthday on Tuesday December 18th. It had been her 60th; and that day I had treated her to lunch to celebrate. 
We met at a tiny restaurant, Port Soiree, in Schomberg,near her office. It was a restaurant neither of us had been to before and it turned out to be a gem, with artsy ambiance, amazing food, wonderful service and modest pricing. In other words, it was perfect!