Back again

Now and again, ever since Easter, a kangaroo has been spending time in our back garden. It’s a big eastern grey and I have no idea where he or she spends the rest of the time. It looks quite comfortable sprawled across the weed that from a distance could pass for grass, until I come outside when it gets up, has a look and decides that I’m not a threat. One of my small joys.

Talking of threats, I began this post with my kangaroo story because after a break of several months I did not want to start with the threat that has become part of our lives. Wherever you live, whether you are in lockdown like me or free to move around but keeping your distance all the same, it’s something we share – the fear, boredom, frustration, insecurity, sorrow, insecurity and  vulnerability that comes with Covid-19.

I can’t recall a time when I’ve felt more hopeless. Personally, it’s not my pain, but it’s a pain that seems to have the whole world in its grip. The pandemic is still spreading all over the world. Parents working from home, or not able to work at all, their children struggling with emotions that lock-down unlocks. One after the other there are fires, floods and earthquake. I cannot begin to imagine the hopelessness of a situation that leaves you homeless and maybe destitute.

The dreams of thousands of Afghanistan women and girls have been shattered, the citizens of Hong Kong who face an undemocratic future, while here in parts of Australia Year 12s and Grade 6 students have lost the anticipation that usually accompanies the celebration of the rites of passage that mark the end of an important stage of life.  

In so-called normal times I can hide from all that – visiting friends, family birthdays, dressing up for dinner at a restaurant, a stage play, a picnic a or a trip to touristy country town, shopping, a barbeque. Escapism it’s called. Now I can’t get away from the tragedy that dominates the daily bulletins and news broadcasts. The pain of the world keeps sneaking into my everyday and I can’t fix any of it.

It’s little things that feed my hope. Like a sunny morning, a cheery message popping up on my phone, the wattle trees that punctuate the road to the nearest supermarket, reading another chapter of Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout, my newest favourite novelist. The only person they are fixing is m, but I need compassion too.

 I’m not sure about the theological veracity of what I’m going to say next, but it seems to me that by acknowledging my inability to do anything practical to alleviate the pain and suffering that touches me, that’s prayer. It doesn’t need words put around it. It’s a living- out of the communion of saints that we say we believe in every time we parrot the Creed. Compassion is like sound waves, only more so. It reaches out and in to where and when it is needed. I know, that’s not scientific, but God-stuff overrides all that! I hope.


4 Replies to “Back again”

  1. I’m so pleased to see this Judith!

    I’ve been wondering about you and posted a letter a few days ago.

    We’re in lockdown too, only two weeks and counting and like you, I’m ok on a day to day basis.

    I agree completely with your last par – it IS theology – and it’s why I try not to feel too bad when I tell someone I will pray for them re a particular situation and then I forget to do so. I tell myself that the prayer is in the intention, the promise, the thinking of them and helping, if possible, in practical ways.

    Please send me a photo of that kangaroo. When I stay with my aunt and uncle in the country (actually on NSW-Qld border so in a sticky situation now) one of my joys is seeing the kangaroos that gather at dusk close to the house – easily a dozen. So beautiful…

    Thank you for posting – and are you working on your book? I hope so because I want to read it,

    Love Tracey

  2. Thanks Judith. My sentiments are the same. Little i can do except pray. I’m 88 now but remember wat I was taught in primary school a while ago. Thanks for those lessons all those years ago. My God protect and comfort all the threatened people now under terrorist rule by the Taliban..

  3. HI Judy. I’m glad you are back. There are no , kangaroos in Florida but I would love to see one, not too close. The pain is worldwide and we are the lucky ones. I pray and hope that things will improve. I put people in my heart and it is easier not to forget to pray for them. Our Lord understands. Pope Francis says that we need to talk to Jesus about everything. We are very limited but Jesus is not. I am in self imposed lock-down. I go to the supermarket and to indispensable doctor appointments. This will pass. A little sunshine from Miami. In the meantime we l continue to trust in the power of the communion of saints. Stay safe. ,

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