Now and again an echidna lumbers across the weedy stretch of rocky land that divides our block from that of the neighbours, exploring ant hill possibilities and poking its beak-like snout and long tongue into interesting little dirt hillocks hoping for a tasty worm or two. While I stay out of sight it seems oblivious to my quiet fascination and camera. But if I am foolish enough to approach, it curls itself into a tight ball protecting its vulnerable belly.
Which is what I feel like doing when I watch the evening news. Like the echidna, when the news of the day approaches my comfort zone I want to curl up very tight and close my eyes and ears to all that is beyond my control – the suffering of people caught up in policies that ignore basic human rights, the greed for power and money that denudes land that has supported families for generations, politicians whose decisions are blindfolded to the reality of climate change, the legacy of pain that family violence leaves behind.
It only takes a click of the remote and it all goes away. But it doesn’t! The evening news mightn’t touch my skin but it does touch my heart. Which is why sometimes, I re-read this Franciscan benediction.
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
Judith Scully (firstname.lastname@example.org)