Having completed a sermon on the saintly Father Andrew and his fifty years of ministry amongst the poor in London’s East End, I wondered what his ministry would have been like and how he would have coped with situations today?
Contemplation was interrupted by a shout from the Best Beloved that there were small children, who seemed to be alone, lying on the grass just across the avenue. Wandering out to investigate, I discovered Deirdre, someone I have known for the past nine years, and three of her four children.
Deirdre lives in a town a few miles away and calls to ask for help when things get desperate, i.e. when her husband has taken every last cent in the house for drink and gambling.
“Deirdre, what are you doing here?”
“I didn’t think you were at home. I was tired and lay down here and fell asleep”.
“How are things?”
“Very bad. He’s been violent”.
“Have you money?”
“Deirdre, I haven’t much cash. I can drop something to your house on Monday”.
“No, don’t do that. He’ll just take it”.
“Is there somewhere in the town I can meet you?”
“I have to go down the town on Monday morning – I’ve got my household budget meeting”.
I wondered if Deirdre ever tells the people who try to help her with her budgeting that it’s very hard to budget if your drunken thug of a husband takes all your money. In a good month all she gets is the children’s allowance, he takes everything else, in a bad month he takes that off her.
While we talked the smallest child exploded in violence against his sister. He had made a nest with grass cuttings and decorated it with circles of flowers picked from shrubs adjoining the road; my arrival had caused a distraction that allowed his sister to kick his arrangement apart. The air was blue. I suspect there are times when our neighbours wished I lived elsewhere.
I arranged to meet Deirdre outside the supermarket that is close to the office she attends for her budget meeting. I will need to get money and break it into small denominations, otherwise it is gone too quickly.
Deirdre and her children headed off, Deirdre proudly telling me that she had seen off a Traveller who had been going to call at our gate.
Father Andrew, what’s the answer?
Anyone at all, please what’s the answer?