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« Bearing the sorrows | Main | Art and wonder »

Post-election blues

I spent election weekend at the beach by myself. On the Sunday morning, when the news had well and truly broken, and my spirit with it, I walked by the ocean in an attempt, maybe, to gaze upon eternal things and remember that the God who made the sea and all that is in it is a giver of courage and hope.

I passed so many groups of people – it was a glorious day – and all were chatting happily about inconsequential things. I felt like shaking them. ‘Don’t you know what just happened? Don’t you realise that now the Adani coal mine will go ahead and the souls languishing in detention who have endured so much will have even less reason to keep enduring?’

As I walked, my friend, who is an asylum seeker living in the community, called me in distress. He has lived in limbo for almost a decade. His resilience and bravery have humbled us and his whacky sense of humour, in a language not his own, has filled our life with richness and delight. But today he sounded defeated and I wept for him.

Twenty-one years ago, Paul Kelly wrote these words: I’m so afraid for my country…I was born in a lucky country, every day I hear the warning bells, they’re so busy building palaces, they don’t see the poison in the wells. In the land of the little kings, profit is the only thing, and everywhere the little kings, are getting away with murder.

Time is running out for my friend and so many in situations similar and worse than his. On an even bigger scale, time is running out for our planet. I want my children and theirs to experience life in its diversity and splendour, but every year that passes, that seems a more naïve expectation. Just last month, a report from the UN claimed that one million species face extinction and that it will likely take millions of years for the earth to recover from our current biodiversity crisis.

I don’t want to be party political here. Neither of our major political parties has much to admire when it comes to policy on refugees or climate change. But I am devastated that once again, greed, self-interest and fear have won out over compassion and the long view.

Scott Morrison claims a miracle – presumably wrought by the God to whom he prayed for rain. The God I know from the gospels, the God I seek to follow is the one who consistently sides with the powerless, the poor, the despised, the underdog, those who cannot speak for themselves. Today, that includes asylum seekers, our planet and its disappearing species.

Post-election, in a world that has already given us Trump and Brexit, it is hard not to despair. I’m so afraid for my country. But I pray for resilience and hope, for the wisdom to rest in God so that we can rise up with wings like eagles, filled with energy enough to follow the God of the powerless and voiceless.


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Reader Comments (4)

Clare you’ve expressed so well how I’ve been feeling too, thankyou. How best to find ways forward I wonder.

July 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSally Manuell

Thanks Claire. I've found Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark energising and humbling. She reminds us that profound change is possible and that big shifts sometimes happen very quickly after decades/centuries of hard slog. In so many places we look today, people are getting active about caring for their world. Solnit says 'I think you have to hope, and hope in this sense is not a prize or a gift, but something you earn through study, through resisting the ease of despair, and through digging tunnels, cutting windows, opening doors, or finding the people who do these things.' Claire - your writing does these things! X

July 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterViv Holmes

sorry that I misspelt your name!!

July 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterViv Holmes

Thanks for reminding us of the nature of the God of hope Clare. Only as we bear witness to this God can the structures of the powerful be challenged and changed. And it will be done by the resilience, commitment and persistence of the powerless.

July 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRod

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