I thought that I would tell you about a chance meeting we had the other night.
While waiting with The First Mate in the treatment area of Accident and Emergency at the Horton hospital, a man was admitted to the cubicle next to us. We were only the thickness of a curtain from the conversation he had with the casualty nurse who was treating him. He had come in because he felt ill, had no money for a drink because he had been robbed in Oxford, had survived on a small amount of money a 'kind lady' had given him in Kidlington and had walked to Banbury from there that day.
What struck me about the conversation was his honesty. He was not proud of needing to get a drink and was honest in telling the nurse his story and apologized because he had been sleeping rough and might smell a bit. She in turn said "I am not here to judge you. You have come here for help and we will help you." I was very impressed by these modern day good Samaritans. He had come to the right place.
I was also reminded of "God Loves a Drunk" a breathtaking song by Richard Thompson (once of Fairport Convention). I just had to tell him. So, when the nurse had left him I had a chat with him. He told me he knew God loved him and told me that he was often reminded of what St Paul said in the letter to the Romans: that he did what he didn't want to do and what he wanted to do he couldn't do. It was like this for him. He knew that the drinking would do him no good but his head compelled him to do it to 'sort himself out'.
I told him of a place in Kent where my son-in-law's father worked as a counselor. They take in people just like him and help them do what they know they must do but cannot do on their own. I gave him the address. I do hope that one day he will turn up, sober, there or at a place like it. He is such a lively man and God loves him.
We had to leave before he was re-hydrated and discharged to continue walking the country. We see many like him by the canals.
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