My 15 minute offering today was prompted by a song – Better Man by Little Big Town. I was listening to my Spotify play list and this one struck a chord. Not necessarily the words in the song but the essence of wishing we were better and having someone to listen to us. I have my ‘listener’ do you have yours?
He sat on the bench at the top of the hill and looked out to sea. He could see the horizon and the endless ocean, quiet and still today, just the gentle swell and the birds sweeping down below the level of the cliffs. The chill breeze ruffled his hair and he pulled his coat up around his neck and pushed his hands deeper into his coat pockets.
He had come to this spot every day for the last week.The same time each day since he had met The Stranger. An unexpected meeting but one that he would never forget.
He had been sitting on the bench as he was today, watching the sea, watching and thinking the same thoughts. He hadn’t even seen The Stranger approach. He had simply appeared at his side, quietly and peacefully, and sat down on the end of the bench. He had said but two words, ‘I’m here’.
It struck him now that he hadn’t even asked The Stranger his name, hadn’t asked him where he had come from or where he was going. He had simply started to talk to him, and once he had started to talk he couldn’t stop, he didn’t want to stop. He had told The Stranger his story. Told him his failings and his weaknesses. His hopes and his regrets. His triumphs and his joys. He told him everything and The Stranger just listened. When he had finished his story it was almost dusk. The sea had turned a dark purple and the light was fading, painting shadows on the hills.
The Stranger sensing that he had said all that he wanted to say, stood up and smiled.
‘Tell me’ The Stranger said, ‘what is it that you really want’.
He thought for a moment and then almost without knowing what he was going to say he simply said ‘ I wish I was a better man’.
The Stranger smiled and said ‘ You are already a better Man’.
The Stranger walked away down the hill and out of sight.
He would return to the same spot in the following weeks and months but The Stranger never returned. It mattered not. He spoke to him anyway, quietly and peacefully as he had done that day. He spoke to him about everything and nothing, about his life and his family, his hopes and his dreams.
He knew that in his heart he was a Better Man now.