Monday, 20 April 2009

A horrible thing

I witnessed a horrible incident yesterday right outside our house. A car stopped suddenly across our drive and I heard shouting. I thought at first someone had crashed into the car, but actually there was just one car in which a man was shouting at a woman - I presume his wife. Not just shouting, but swearing and then forcing her to get out of the car. By this stage I couldn't be an onlooker any longer - I had to see if I could help, even though I was fully prepared for the man to take a swipe at me for interfering. A passer-by was telling him to calm down or he would report him to the police, and I made sure we had the car's number. Goodness knows what had sparked this off; it was like a scene from Eastenders, but much more horrifying because it was for real and the man seemed completely out of control. I asked the woman if she was OK and she said it was just a bit of 'domestic'. Fortunately her sister lived round the corner, because the man suddenly drove off without her leaving her shaken and, no doubt, embarrassed.

The incident left me shaken too, and also our daughter who had witnessed it, but I was also profoundly sad not just for the woman, but for both of them that they should find themselves in this situation. There was nothing I could do to help except just be there and stand with the woman while her husband drove off. The whole thing happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that there was an animal quality about it, and I think it's that which was so horrifying - that within our humanity there still lurks this sort of primeval rage. And to see this within what is supposed to be a loving relationship was all the more upsetting.

After the lady had gone I found myself praying for her. I had no idea what the circumstances were, whether either of them was to blame, or where they had come from, but it's in these situations when we are compelled to pray that Paul's words to the Romans are so helpful: 'We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.' I trust that the Spirit groaned on behalf of these two people and that somehow in the mystery of God they will find the peace and reconciliation that they need.

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