Many years ago, Father Peter Codd, parish priest at St John the Baptist Church, read out a letter from our bishop, the Rt Rev. Crispian Hollis about attitudes of gratitude.

Roughly about the same time I came across Andover’s very own beloved gentleman of the road. The seed that our bishop planted came to fruition on meeting Max. I first came across him sleeping next to Mimmos the hairdressers. He had the most beautiful benign weather-beaten face, with loving eyes and a trusting nature devoid of malice duplicity and resentment. He was simply grateful for waking up each morning alive and unharmed.

Unencumbered with unnecessary trappings of consumerism, I felt that despite what I owned, he was infinitely richer, because he valued and appreciated the very things that cash could never buy.

Our bishop wanted us to develop more grateful attitudes, but fate put me in direct contact with the very person that illustrated this perfectly.

Since then, all our lives have changed. The children in schools that I spoke to have grown into adults and work throughout Test Valley.

Some of those that were an integral part of our community during those times have passed away, leaving holes in our hearts the size of craters.

For those with lives shattered through bereavement, time simply stands still. There is no gratitude – just deep inconsolable pain which each of us can relate to.

This leads organically to the conversation I had with the minister of the Methodist church Rev. Andy Fitchet, where he recounted one of his favourite sayings.

“This life is not a dress rehearsal.”

Comprehending that were all different, it could be perceived that the cards life has dealt me may not be the same as those dealt to others.

My own attitudes have been known to be less than grateful or nurturing when encountering rudeness bad manners or passive aggressive behaviour. I then find myself unable to deal with this in a rational manner.

However, the more enlightened, we are aware that anger is hurt not inwardly absorbed, but outwardly expressed.

So when I see people hurting deeply, to the less understanding they could appear to be: ‘angry’ and ‘negative’.

But I believe what hurting souls need is active listening, tender loving and comprehensive understanding.

Followed by a vaccination of an attitude of gratitude, the first dose immediately, with the second following three months later - LOL!