Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Man Whom Nobody Knew

I met a man the other day while I was walking who seemed like a very interesting person. It seemed he had lived a very interesting life, being far travelled. It seemed he had also had a number of occupations. I learned this in the short two miles I walked with him. He was indeed a font of knowledge.

Unfortunately we had to part company as I turned off the track to take the route back home, he headed onwards to visit a local tavern where he said he had many friends. It was only after he had left that I realised I had not asked his name and if he had given it to me I had forgotten it. I felt kind of bad about that, it is so unlike me not to ask a persons name.

Later I met my friend Archie. As you know he is one of the characters of the village I live in. He has a great memory for a man of 84 and he knows most people. I described the man to him and I watched as he looked at me. Then he said, “Who would you like that fellow to be?” I thought that a strange question from him. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“That lad will be whoever you want him to be. He has travelled the world and never left Rosyth. He has had a million jobs if you listen to him, but I do not ever remember him working. You don’t want to get to know him.”

So there you go. I had indeed met the man for all seasons, and for all people. I asked about all the friends he was heading off to meet. It seems he goes to that local tavern and has an ale and a read of their newspaper and heads home having spoken to nobody.

It is so sad that he has played this role so often that now only strangers end up in his company.

This reminded me of the word of wisdom tale told to me early in my ministry. It goes like this.

Keichu, the great Zen teacher was head of Tofuku a Zen Cathedral in Kyoto. One day the governor of Kyoto called upon him for the first time.

His attendant presented the business card of the governor to Keichu, which read: Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto.

“I have no business with such a fellow,” said Keichu to the attendant. “Tell him to get out of here.”

The attendant carried the card back and told the governor what had happened. The governor took the card and said, “There was an error.” With a pencil he scored out the words Governor of Kyoto. He gave the attendant the card again saying , “Go ask again.”

On receiving the card Keichu looked at it and exclaimed, “Oh is that Kitagaki? I so would like to meet that fellow.”

It was Jesus who said to sit at the bottom of the table when invited and then if invited to the top you have an even greater honour.

Both stories are simply telling us to be just who we are and never try to be an greater than that.

Have a great weekend.

This blog is linked to my other Can I Tempt You? (2)

Ruby was telling me yesterday she is having problems posing comments on my blog was I deleting them. No I never ever delete any comments so I am sorry if this has happened to you. I am aware that I have not been getting many comments there may be something I have done.


  1. Good Morning Ralph, I am up before the sun today!
    I am getting old and forgetful! "Walter Mitty" is the character and I have forgotten the author
    but it is the same story: a made up life to find acceptance and love. I am more like Groucho Marx who wouldn't join a group that had such low standards as to accept his membership!

  2. Again a wonderful story. I love how you look at people as you go about your day.

  3. Maybe some people have no life so they make up one. Even a dificult, or unconventional life is better than none at all. At least it is your very own. Its a beautiful day and I'm happy to be a part of it.. no matter what it brings.