Blog entry by Alan Chapman
There is a man called Karl who lives near me.
He often sits alone on a street corner bench.
He always has a smile for other people and exchanges words of greeting.
From a distance, Karl might seem a very insignificant person.
But when you see Karl more closely and engage him in conversation, it's clear that Karl is a very strong wise man.
Karl has sparkling eyes, a lean physique and tanned skin.
He looks very fit and well, as if he has a very simple lifestyle.
He uses clear language, and has a quiet under-stated manner.
Karl is actually very charismatic.
Charisma is a very rare quality.
Karl does not have much money, nor many possessions.
Karl has a different sort of wealth.
Most people do not realise that Karl talks with other people about their traumas.
More meaningfully, Karl listens to people who want to talk about their grief and distresses.
Karl has not been trained for this.
Karl is not paid for this.
Karl does it because he is wise and strong, and a selfless loving man.
He listens without judgement, and absorbs the angst of other people.
People feel safe sharing their feelings with him.
modesty and humility
re-imagining community health
Absorbing someone else's pain - without judging - is 'big work'.