Cornwall Cogitation #9, Sunday 03.04.16–A 30-something-year-old man on the circular path outside Truro, called out, “Do you walk here often?” “Yes,” I said, meaning we’d walked this way a respectable number of times in the last three years. “Did you see the place back there that’s cleaned up?” Again I said, “Yes.”
The man said he was happy that we had noticed. He told us he was homeless, having been homeless in London, almost 300 miles away, homeless in a carpark in Truro, and now homeless in a small tent along an estuary of the Truro River. He said he had been there for three days, burning debris in a bonfire. We had seen the narrow steps going down to a cozy, flat landing area, soon to be hidden by leafing bushes and trees.
Several times the man said how happy he was that we had noticed his work. He no longer drank nor did drugs, he said, “though, I’ll not lie, I once did.” He takes his meds and follows a narrow, if solitary, path. As we were about to part I asked him his first name. “Joshua,” he responded, adding. “And you know, that also means Jeshu, if you know what I mean.” I nodded, wordlessly acknowledging his allusion to the homeless Jesus.
The one and only thing Joshua asked of us was whether we had noticed that the place where he had pitched his tent looked tidy. We did and said so. “Jesus, bless Joshua, your child, the clean-up angel of Truro, with health of body, mind and spirit.”
Working together for one and all
A year ago I spent three nights at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro. St Ives doctors and nurses, the hospital team and friends from St Anta & All Saints got me back on my feet and our travel insurance paid the bill. All’s well a year on, thank God.
“Working together to achieve outstanding care and better health outcomes,” notes the Hospital’s 2015/16 vision. Still, hospitals in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) are under fiscal restraint and patient flow management pressures across the health and social care community. Even so, with beds filled, operations delayed, and ER visits at an all-time high, all people have access to needed health services.
I’m impressed with Royal Cornwall Hospital’s equality and diversity statement. I can only dream of the day when we will see such a statement adapted to the political, social and religious worlds:
“Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust is committed to delivering inclusive health services for all in a dignified and respectful way by a workforce which is equally respected. We recognize that all patients, staff and members of the public are individuals and we will strive to meet their needs. As an organization we will endeavour to ensure that no one is discriminated against or treated unfairly due to age, disability, race, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership or pregnancy/maternity. Where necessary we will make every effort to ensure adjustments are made to prevent less equitable experiences occurring. Discriminatory behaviour is not acceptable and, in relation to the characteristics above, may be unlawful. TCHT will not tolerate discrimination from anyone–staff, the public or patients.”
In praise of perambulation
We are so grateful for this small region of God’s creation that for walkers offers a depth of choices and a variety of destinations amid marvels of land, sea and air–and perhaps angels unawares in the glorious post-Easter world.
I may have written about a city walkability study I came across a year or more ago; it bears repeating. The walk score was based on walking routes, available choices, pedestrian friendliness, population and neighborhood data. Amenities included proximity to restaurants, shopping, entertainment centers and public transportation.
The scale: 0-24, car-dependent. 25-49, car-dependent, most errands require a car. 50-69, somewhat walkable, some errands can be accomplished on foot. 70-89, very walkable, most errands can be accomplished on foot. 90-100, walk in paradise, daily errands do not require a car.
Here’s how these cities at the time stacked up: Goshen, 28; Elkhart, 35; South Bend, 42; Indianapolis, 29; Guelph, ON, 47; Stratford, ON, 71; Chicago, 74.8; Philadelphia, 76.5; San Francisco, 83.9; and, New York City (#1), 87.6. The Elkhart score for us is more like 50-69. Downtown is a mile away, bank, post office, library and grocery store are all within easy walking range, as are five parks, and, oh, yes, the Wellfield Botanic Garden. Goshen deserves a better score; the city has made big strides, more than Elkhart, in becoming a pedestrian/biker friendly city. But here in Cornwall we’re in paradise. In March we walked 140 miles.
Turn the world upside down
That’s chapter 7 of On the Pilgrims’ Way. Arfron Jones joined Nelson for a day of walking on the Pilgrims’ Way toward Canterbury. I’ll only excerpt Arfron’s exposition on the Tower of Babel passage in Genesis 11:1-9:
“Sinful humans wanted to rule their own life and destiny. They wanted to be in control, and did not want tobe diverse and vulnerable. God wanted human culture to be varied, with people basing relationships on faith in God rather than in themselves or their political power.”
Two of the points in the chapter, Nelson writes, are: “Nationalism can be positive if it respects the interests of all peoples and nations,” and, “God delights in the cultural and linguistic diversity of the world.” These conversations with walking companions add depth, wonder and joy to one’s walk with Jesus.
Rambles, coach trip, property, Sunday service and selfie roundup
We were delighted to welcome niece Rachel Bender for a 10-day stay, to join us in rambles old and new. Before she arrived, Marty and I took a coach trip to Tavistock and Buckfast Abbey in Devon. It rained and cleared in dribs and drabs, not at all dampening the excursion. We had two hours for lunch in Tavistock and a bit more time at Buckfast. I hope the pictures do the talking.
The St. Ives Times & Echo on 1 April ran the headline, “Housing referendum: ‘Kits, cats, men and wives–how many are buying every inch of St Ives?'” Housing is an issue, not an April Fool’s joke. Property in St Ives is being sold for second homes only occupied part of the year while other locals are left off the affordable property ladder.
The April & May issue of New Contact, publication of St Anta and St Uny churches, ran this filler: Some children were asked: What do you think of Jesus? “Jesus,” said one little boy, “is the best selfie that God has ever taken.”