Love Life Live Lent Wednesday of Week Four: say hello to your neighbours!

I was told once that as a vicar, if I didn’t have small children, I should get a dog, as I would need an excuse to be walking in the village without looking like I was just wandering around.  Probably good advice, though I’m not sure that I’ll want to replace the children with a dog when they get too old to be useful in casual pastoral ministry…

One of the joys of being a vicar is that I can smile and say hello to people I don’t know without them thinking I’m a nutter – or at least, if they do think I’m a nutter, it’s not because I smiled at them. This even sort of works in London (not that I go there very often, but I have tried it – smiling at people on the tube – and sometimes people even smile back).

One of the challenges of being a vicar is that when I do smile and say hello to people they often want to stop and talk, which is lovely, unless I’m in a hurry to get somewhere – so one allows time for these encounters.

And I suppose that’s the point, isn’t it?  Allowing time for your hello to become more than a hello is part of what makes the hello worth saying in the first place. It makes a walk down the street less predictable, getting anywhere takes longer and we may be drawn into conversations that are difficult or that demand more of us than we expected to give.  But on the other hand, we may make mew friends. make a difference (in a good way!) to someone’s day…

Saying hello may well be only step one but it could well be step one of a much longer, richer and more interesting journey.

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