An Encounter by Jez Lovekin

I was painting the railings outside the Samaritan building in Aber when I was approached by a smartly dressed man riding a disability scooter. He looked fit, well and bright and I guessed immediately he was a Jehova. I never have a problem with an approach as I have a secret admiration for their courage and zeal and indeed one of my mates at work was a Jehova and I was very fond of him. We always hug warmly when we meet in Aber.

However I also have an Englishman’s reserve and the dread of having to find a way of escape without too much damage. So straight away I said I was a Buddhist and he had no hope of a conversion. Most, hastily shove a leaflet into your hands and retreat but he was made of sterner stuff and immediately tuned in. “How did you get into Buddhism?”He asked, and then the killer, “Was I born into it?” I explained my parents were Commies and I had found Buddhism myself. The look he gave me was memorable and I can only describe it as a mix of pity and sadness. This was a no brainer for him, Faith versus No Faith. I was a goner and I shrank in the face of such certainty and waited for the next hammer blow.

“What’s the Buddhist line on the state of the world?” By now I was floundering as unlike my Jehova friend, I had no instructions from above and only little old me to rely on. I mumbled something about owning my despair and settled for an offered passage from Daniel which gave me some consolation and hope for the future. We shook hands and I watched him travelling down the street, now accompanied by several others, all shining and utterly certain theirs was the true way. I admired and envied their certainty and felt a pang of isolation. I already knew their story of how they had recently built their church in a fortnight on a flood plain because the council would allow no other and sure enough they had flooded twice. The council in their wisdom, relented and allowed them higher ground. So they took their church apart and rebuilt it, again in about fourteen days, using swarms of the faithful from all over Wales. Those that had skills used them and  taught others during the rebuild. It was deeply affecting and if this was a newly discovered tribe in the Amazon, we would be full of admiration.

I also know some Greens.