There was this one time when I was asked to visit a friend of mine who was in hospital. Let me clarify what I mean by ‘in hospital’. He was actually in the hospital’s locked ward. He’d had a psychotic episode and been sectioned. So I went to visit him, and I sat with him in the secure unit. I was out of my depth, which is where I spend a lot of my time. He asked me to read to him, from the Psalms. So that’s what I did. That’s all I did. For half an hour I just sat and read from the Psalms while he wept beside me. Then I went home to my family.
I know that I have public gifts; the sort of gifts that draw attention. I have been told that I preach eloquently and, sometimes, powerfully. I know that there are those who have been influenced by my teaching. It’s been said that I write well, and that I am a gifted communicator. But I think about that time in the locked ward, and I have a sneaking suspicion that, even if I were to live to be one hundred years old, I will never do anything as important as that ever again.