Why is the rear-view mirror in a car so small? Because we’re supposed to drive with most of our attention to the front scanning the horizon to keep a clear eye on where we are going with a regular look back at what is behind us to check for safety and to make sure that when we pull over we’re not putting ourselves or others in danger.
That being the case, I’m checking the mirror and pulling over here for a few words on the year that’s been and then to focus on the year ahead.
Wow! You could not have dreamed up the chaos that has impacted on our world this last 12 months. If we looked outside Australia we saw how small the world is as COVID 19 spread across the globe devastating health systems and people everywhere it touched. Revealed were the cracks in our relationships with countries as global trading was used as a weapon to intimidate by our largest trading partner. The failure of Brexit creating uncertainty for the population of the UK/Europe along with the impact of a rampant virus. Revelations in the royal family. The collapse of common sense and fact with the manipulation of the Democratic process to assuage the ego of a failed leader in the US while hundreds of thousands died and thousands starve highlighting how inequitable that form of self-serving partisan behaviour really is. Incredible and so much more!
Was I watching some strange sci-fi movie? No, it was fact and yet the most bizarre and hysterical conspiracy theories were fed and fuelled to flame by faceless nameless anarchists for no other purpose than to cause chaos.
What was happening?
Closer to home the sports rort, COVID 19 stopping the country and dividing communities with border closures and the political point scoring that inevitably exposed our own leaders infighting. Home tutoring and working from home and the realisation that we don’t need to be in an office to be effective the revelation of insidious media influence in our political framework, the heartless approach to a family incarcerated who are wanted in the community they were taken from, the almost narcissistic denial of the thousands in hidden unemployment and the almost impossible act of living below the breadline, communities still devastated by the bushfires, drought and floods being over spoken with spin by those who were supposed to represent them.
If any one of these events has happened in a year, we would be aghast and yet they all came rolling like a flood tide and appeared almost as a perfect storm overwhelming, confusing and concerning so many of us who are just reasonable people wanting to live in and support our communities and the people in them.
And for me that’s where it comes to this year. We’ve made it. We’re still here and still whole and that I am truly grateful for. While my comments above may demonstrate a certain cynicism, it’s not that. It seems vital to me that we reflect on what has happened and with our eyes wide open that we can be objectively critical of these events and learn from them to improve what the future will be.
Can you imagine what young people must think when they look at the current state of affairs?
As an elder in my own community, I take it as my role to create hope and that hope is driven by a pragmatic belief in the essential goodness of people.
Putting the rest of the world aside for a moment I can see that goodness play it out in random acts of kindness demonstrated daily in love shown, hugs given and needs met by the “ordinary” everyday people supporting those who have less in our community. Those who offer a hand because they are there and they can. It’s shown in the money raised when a family is hurt, a house burnt or a child is taken ill. These small things are at the heart of great communities and they are everywhere across the country.
If we focus on being that this year regardless of what happens elsewhere it’ll be a great place to live and create more than hope. The challenge for the year is to come with kindness. That will be something that anyone would be grateful for.