“Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool, lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules” sung by Mary Macgregor 1976
Many moons ago, in the days of black and white films, a film was released (1945) that even today it is rated amongst one of the enduring classics of the era. It was called Brief Encounter starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. The story involved man meeting woman on a station platform, strangers, they begin a conversation whilst waiting for a train. It becomes regular until the relationship they have built up must either end or go further. The lady decides she cannot hurt her husband by leaving. By the time they have to part company, the attraction and tension that has built up between them means that they part with a reluctance that is palpable. In today’s culture I am not at all sure it could be replicated in the same manner.
This came to the forefront of my mind due to book I am currently reading which I cannot help but feel has taken this film as its basis, although it becomes infidelity on all round as the story takes its own direction.
In turn it led me to think of a very close friend of mine who died of cancer some years ago. Brought up by Christian parents and until her late teenage years she herself was involved in church attendance and various other church based activities. She then became disillusioned occasioned by the actions and attitudes of other church members, it happens sometimes regrettably, and left turning her back on Christian principles to a large extent. When, in her early fifties she was diagnosed with cancer which an operation and further treatment failed to halt, she turned this way and that looking for a cure. She tried crystal therapy amongst other things which included returning to church worship, at a different church to the one she left. We talked many times and, at her request, I prayed with her. It did not feel appropriate to discuss the reasons for her return to worship, however there was never a moment when I could discern that revelation or repentance was part of it – rightly or wrongly. What I felt was that she that desperately wanted to be part of the Christian community but just could not take that final step that is necessary. Torn between the desire for faith and divine healing yet not quite able to commit.
It is a situation that it is ever present both in people who attend our churches for a while and then leave uncommitted. How do we reach out to them and help them cross the bridge? I do not profess to have all the answers but it seems to me that my friend’s example demonstrates how critical is not just talk the talk but to walk the walk as well. To demonstrate the the love and attitude of Christ to others both through word and deed, always.
*I have now finished the book and, close to the end, the author does make a passing reference to Brief Encounter.