If not now, then when?

This morning’s Pause For Thought for the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 was inspired by a much missed friend, Adrian Reith, who would always ask questions that opened you up. The short stories I mention can be found wherever you get your podcasts, just search my name and Can We Talk?

You can hear it here and the words are below https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c3q4pm

I lost a friend recently. His name was Adrian and I’ve been thinking about him a lot over the past couple of weeks.

He was a warm man, a wise man, a wickedly funny man. a big brother figure, a mentor to me and others, who helped us to find our way by asking questions.

He’d listen to me fret about a thing I was hoping to do and he’d go: “Why not do it now?”

Asking incisive questions like that is a real skill in life, one I’ve tried to acquire myself over the years in my work as an interviewer, and I’m writing and recording short stories at the moment for my podcast Can We Talk? about encounters I’ve had with remarkable people, from the likes of Tiger Woods and Scarlett Johannsson to Zahra, a refugee who came across the Channel in a boat on Christmas Day.

In every case, as I listen back to the tapes, the questions we ask each other open us up, until we are just two humans, sharing a moment, learning.

Everybody wants answers from Jesus in the stories Christians tell, but he very rarely answers directly; and instead asks question after question:

“Who do you say I am?”

“Do you want to be well?”

“Do you love me?”

He asks Peter that one three times in the weeks after Easter, matching the three times Peter denied knowing him when everything was going wrong.

“Do you love me?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Do you love me?”

“You know I do.”

“Do you love me?”

And in those questions it becomes obvious that love flows both ways, because when they’re asked right, and the answers are heard, questions can allow us to be ourselves.

So I ask myself a lot of questions these days, some of which might resonate with you:

Why not say something?

Why not put your arms around her?

Why not tell him that you love him?

Why not call them after all these years?

Why not say sorry?

Why not be kind?

Why not forgive yourself?

Why not give yourself away?

Why not dare to do whatever it is you long to do?

And as Adrian would say: “If not now, then when?”

Published by Cole Moreton

Award-winning interviewer, writer and broadcaster.

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