I’m not Catholic, but today I don’t know if I should have a bad conscience or not. I therefore request everyone’s honest opinion. Billy No-Mates is the cause of concern. Yes, him of all the problems in particular last year.
Wind back to Remembrance Day, November 2017. A very pious and reflective day for us Brits and also for members of the Commonwealth, especially those of us who have connections with Her Majesty’s armed forces. We remember the people, not the cause. It’s also a suitable day for thinking of those of our loved who are dead or dying.
I turned up early to church on Remembrance Day to prepare for that day’s service. Billy and K had arrived to do their jobs in church. I said to K:
Have you heard about F? She’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Billy, standing just a few feet away, overheard my comment, and flew into a violent rage.
I’ve got friends who are f***ing suffering and dying! I’ve had a f***ing sh*t life since the summer!
I wanted to tell Billy:
- We’re not in competition when it comes to suffering.
- I wasn’t speaking to him, but to K.
- He needs to control his temper and show respect for the church and other people on this very day in the church calendar.
Instead, I bit my tongue and said nothing.
A week ago, F died. Probably a relief to her, as she had been suffering for months.
Her funeral is this Friday. I found out that Billy is intending to come to F’s funeral.
Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
- He never knew F.
- He may have known of her after I had mentioned her name on Remembrance Day.
- He never asked anyone how F was.
- He never expressed an interest in her progress.
- He was always more interesting in telling everyone about how his new-found mate had found him a flat here, and that the JobCenter was paying for a new kitchen, me, me, me, etc.
I feel a bit harsh saying this, but I feel Billy wants to go to the funeral in the same way that Westerners go on “banana visits” to see prisoners in Thai prisons. Partly to do a bit of good, show his face and offer sympathy, but mainly to “have a good gawp.”
As my policeman friend would say, “He’s got previous.” At a funeral in October, he was meant to be helping me tidy up the church. However, when he got chatting to the widow straight after the service, she mentioned there was a buffet for friends. Billy immediately took up the offer, even though he knew the deceased or the widow, and off he went to stuff his face with Kaffee und Kuchen, sausage rolls, prawn cocktails, frikadellas or whatever he fancied. In the meantime I was left to tidy up the church on my own – for clearly I had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon, than to straighten chairs, pick up service sheets and lock up. “Not a team player” is the British understatement I would use.
So… Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? And what? What should I say to Billy? Matthew 18:15-17 encourages us to take a miscreant to one side. Should I ask him:
Why are you coming to F’s funeral?
Was your outburst in November respectful towards F?
Or should I just treat him like a pagan or a tax collector?
Have a respectful day, won’t you!