With a title like this, you may be expecting some comment on the new ‘interdisciplinary’ phase of the Living in Love and Faith project, which began properly yesterday. Well, I suspect I’m not allowed to say anything at all under the Memorandum of Understanding etc, so you won’t get that. However, something that happened to me during the day made me reflect on how we cling to our views even in the face of evidence, so I’ll offer this to you without further comment.
At lunchtime I had to leave the building (reasons not relevant to this story). I grabbed my bag and my coat and walked off to a cafe. It was remarkably warm for January so I didn’t bother doing up my coat. I bought some food, ate it and started to head back to the meeting venue.
The wind had increased and it was colder. So I decided to do up my coat. I have several coats of varying ages and styles, and this one is a loose-fitting camel coat with a simple button fastening and no belt. But I was very surprised to find there were only two buttons – I could have sworn this coat had three! That was really odd… I felt a sense of unreality, as I kept reaching above and below the two buttons and their matching button-holes to find that third one. Surely it had three? Or did it? Maybe not?
No success. No sign of a button having fallen off (no third button-hole!). So, whatever, I did up the two buttons. The coat felt remarkably tight. I wondered whether the fabric had somehow got caught up so I moved one hand behind me and encountered – a belt. Now reality reached me. My coat may or may not have three buttons – I was still willing to accept that actually it had only two, even though at another level I knew this was impossible – but most definitely it has no belt.
Breakthrough moment: this is not my coat. It is one of identical colour and length but it has one fewer button and it has a belt and it is a smaller size. It is not my coat. I tried to persuade myself that it was, but the evidence has now become so overwhelming that I have to face reality.