Swathes not slices

Our record-breaking too-long heatwave is over, temperatures are back to normal, and - this being Britain - variable. No, it's by no means a roller coaster, more like one of those merry-go-rounds with horses which go up and down - with twenty degrees being the median point. So when I looked out of my window this morning I was disappointed - though not surprised - to see an unending woolliness of clouds, with, here and there, signs of the sun ineffectually struggling to break through. I checked the forecast: yes, we were still being promised twenty-two degrees and sunny spells; thus, in hope, I dressed accordingly.

A few minutes later I went out to buy the paper. Stepping into the road I looked up and around... and beheld a sky which resembled, not an unbroken blanket of cotton wool, but a shoreline, where land and water are clearly demarcated. Only the cloudy side had been visible from my window, whereas from the road a whole swathe could be seen. And it occurred to me that the people who live across the road would have started the day looking out of their windows onto near-cloudless blue, as unaware of the encroaching clouds as I had been of the clear skies.

So much of life depends on the position from which we view something, be it politics, religion, another person or, indeed, the sky above us: and that position determines not just what and how much we see, but how we feel and respond to it. Someone whose first sight was of blue sky may well have felt disappointed to later see nothing but cloud, whereas I was uplifted at the reminder that the cloud cover was not complete! (Even though, as soon became clear, those clouds were advancing, slowly but surely, not retreating)

Our world is currently riven by discord, with battles fought in tweets and headlines, truth endlessly distorted or redefined and "fake news" shouted from each corner. From where I stand I can see the logic, goodness and sense in certain views and arguments, and wonder how other people of faith and goodwill cannot do likewise; they, of course, might wonder the same about my viewpoint. But our view of the same reality is only partial, our positions staked accordingly. Unless we meet at a central point - unless we emerge, and stand in that more open, less confined area between us, where we can see swathes rather than slices - that's how we will always be...