There is a book which has been in my possession and gathering dust on my bookshelf for a good many years entitled The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. The book may well be an enjoyable read but it has always struck me as a rather sad title.
Last Friday morning I celebrated Mass at Bishop Challoner for Years 3 and 4 and as the children poured into the chapel I was quickly aware that it was World Book Day as they were dressed up as characters from their favourite books. It was an impressive spectacle and the children’s enthusiasm was infectious.
At the end of the Mass I ventured along the line of the front pew asking the children to say who they were. Iron Man, Harry Potter, Cinderella, Captain America and two Mad Hatters were among the replies. However, at one point as I moved along the line I came across a pupil and unwittingly asked for his identity, not realising he was simply dressed in school uniform. A visit to Spec Savers is due, I think.
The boy responded rather sheepishly with, “I’m not anyone” or “I’m nobody”. Wishing to make up for my faux pas, I said, “but that’s not true, every-one is someone”.
It is a sad state of affairs that there are so many people in the world who feel like a Nobody, that they don’t count, that they simply don’t matter. As a priest, I meet people who feel anonymous, unappreciated, forgotten and they desire nothing more than to have a sense of belonging in a community that cares. So, perhaps this Lent we could pray for these people and find ways to make them feel valued. Recently I’ve been stepping out in faith and engaging in conversation with people I encounter in the street or in the cafes. I find that sometimes a smile and a kindly demeanour can cut through any barriers of fear and low self-esteem. God does not consider any of his children a nobody but a definite some-body who are called to live life to the full in His kingdom. As disciples of Christ we should be the same.