9th June 2023

Having carefully typed out this ‘thought’ on the computer, then printed it out on paper and read through it yet again to check for any typos etc, I will give it to Margaret to read over. I know from past experience that as the writer I’m the person most likely not to have noticed where I’ve slipped up somewhere. That’s why in writing articles for publication, not to mention a book, proof-reading is so important – too important to be left just to the author.

As humans, we like to imagine that we know what is on the page because we wrote it or it’s already so familiar to us. We don’t see what’s actually there, only what we want to see or assume is there. That’s when we need another’s eyes to spot anything we’ve missed. Nor is it any use thinking that the spell-checker will do the job automatically and completely. In fact the danger becomes even greater if we’re not doubly careful here. The spell-checker may think that we were trying to type a completely different word altogether and choose a very embarrassing alternative word for us (as almost happened to me once in Geneva – church diplomatic incident narrowly averted).

None of us is too skilled, too experienced, not to need another pair of eyes, another and less complacent brain, to scrutinise our work. It’s an aspect of how God has created us to live in community, in mutual need and help, not in presumed self-sufficiency but rather in humility and gratitude. The results are better too.

Spotted any errors in this piece? Blame Margaret now!

Keith Clements