“Allo, Cheeky Monkey”

I had just parked the car and was walking toward St Peters for the 10:30 service when I spotted him. An old, ragged man slouching his way toward me, looking at the ground as if he might fall over. But when I went to pass him, he looked up at me and grinned, “Allo, Cheeky Monkey” and kept on walking. What? Did he mean me or did he think he was talking to some other person that only he could see? In his world, do I look like a ‘cheeky monkey’? What kind of world does he live in? This conversation kept running through my mind.

What kind of world does he live ?

I’d like to think that who I think am is pretty much how I seem to others. I assume that their world looks pretty much to them as my world looks to me. Except, of course, for sick or disturbed or inebriated people, who might well see me as a cheeky monkey. But is that assumption warranted?  Maybe that old man wasn’t drunk or insane. Maybe his world is very different than mine (as everyone’s is). Maybe I am a Cheeky Monkey to a lot of other people and don’t realise it! I once heard that a good definition of humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us. Gulp! Maybe God sees me very differently than I see myself. I wish I could talk to that old man (and God) for a minute.

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