The Good Stranger: Help in unexpected places

On Thursday I drove to visit someone who has just had an operation, is in her 70’s and had planned to chat about work and how she is coping with being housebound, but by the time I’d got there I was a nervous wreck! I don’t know Bradford very well, and had underestimated how long a journey it would be to see her.  I had been running on empty in the petrol tank for some time and there wasn’t a petrol station on route, fortunately I got there ok and then back to the nearest petrol station afterwards. The lady I was visiting was able to calm me down, and listen to how I was feeling even though this is not how I’d planned the meeting would go.

The journey was also interesting as my Sat Nav was supposed to take me to her house via Morrison’s petrol station but it took me into the opposite side of the road, which is a large poor residential area, with mostly Asian families, which is totally different in the look and feel of the place to other parts of Bradford.  I later watched an interesting programme about “Making Bradford British” which in the office we agreed was a dodgy title, but it was quite interesting viewing. Some communities in Bradford are quite separate, and when English is still a second language for many people, especially women, it seems hard for everyone to integrate as much as we could do. One of the nicest bits of the programme was seeing an older Christian man helping a devout younger Muslim man find the right direction in which to pray using his mobile phone compass, and then later the Muslim man was sticking up for the Christian as he came under attack from other members of the group. They were becoming unlikely friends but both showing their faith through kind words and deeds.  

Our son has a book of bible stories, and the Good Samaritan is called the “Good Stranger”, because the Samaritan in the story was effectively a foreigner in a strange land, who didn’t need to get involved with any extra hassle on his journey and should have really been the one to walk on by, given he would probably have had a dangerous journey himself.  Often in life I find it’s the people who you don’t expect to help that often do. I have always enjoyed working with people of diverse faiths in our team in the social care office, where we have a Buddist, Muslims, Sikh’s and many agnostics and aetheists as often we share the same perspectives more than we might think and when I emailed once to say I wasn’t making a meeting because our baby had woken several times in the night, it was one of the Muslim men in our team who emailed back to empathise with my situation.



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