When you put people together they create stories. Sometimes the stories are creative, sometimes deceptive; they can be comic and fun, sad and tragic. Each of us plays a part in the story while at the same time we contribute to the script. Most weeks at Hetton Hall new arrivals would appear, with their suitcases full of clothes and with memories full of stories, some good, some sad. Usually, during the first day people were polite, a little formal as they took small and tentative steps getting to know each other. Occasionally there would be people who just jumped in with both feet, crossing boundaries to early, causing other folk to retreat. On the second day Monsters would appear, sometimes in your face or allowing you only a glimpse of them. You could tell who the people were who had named and tamed their monsters. They kept them on a short leash. There were others whose monsters would start to take control of the story, seeking attention, directing, reacting, retreating, overwhelming, and undoing.
Our challenge every week was to introduce every new group into our story, into our monastic day, our rhythm of life that enabled us to resist the Logosmoi and name our monsters. Monsters have to be faced, in individuals, in communities, if not they can cause hurt, confusion and anguish.
This is a story about how I nearly ruined my wedding…..
Monsters come in many shapes and sizes and can appear
at the most unexpected times. Take for example my
wedding day. Things had been going really well, my best
man was a little late but turned up in time for us not to
arrive late for the wedding ceremony. Linda looked fantastic as she
walked into the Church and I just felt so good and so
ready for all of this.
Then the monster turned up….
Here I am, in Church, with the lovely Linda, standing in
front of the Minister who is going to ‘marry’ us and I want
to punch his lights out! Now, I didn’t know this man, he
had stepped in at the last minute when the other Minister
(my brother in law Trevor) had taken ill. Apart from the
almost uncontrollable desire to punch his lights out my
head was swirling with verbal abuse: ‘You smarmy little
Toad…who do you think you are smiling at!’ I won’t
repeat the rest but I am sure you can guess!?
I am not great at hiding my feelings and I struggled to
‘swallow’ them to get through the service. The poor guy
must have picked up some of the my conflict and gave me
a confused look at the end when I gave him a limp
handshake and snarled politely at him.
During the wedding reception the ‘penny dropped’
Some years before I got married I had worked in
a Recruitment Agency.
My job was to encourage local employers
to recruit temporary staff as and when needed.
My greatest success was a contract with a local
property developer to provide 30 temporary staff
to work on a building site.
The contract was for 9 months and was good business for
my company and a big bonus for me.
Much to my surprise (and anger!)
my new boss not only took the credit
for the new business but also the bonus.
I quit after giving him a piece of my mind,
but remained angry for months.
Now I knew why I was so angry with the minister:
He looked like my old boss!
For that reason alone
I could have punched his lights out…