So, here we are at 2020, and to paraphrase G K Chesterton “Another year has ended in which I had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me. Now begins another. Why am I allowed two?”
His words, as they so often do, ring true and fill me, not just with a sense of gratitude but of reflection as well, especially this morning as I gaze out the window at a smoke-tinged sky that reminds me of our friends and neighbours in Australia who are fighting fires of almost unbelievable intensity and magnitude.
I guess 2019 will be forever remembered as the year our fair New Zealand shores were targeted by an evil act of terror against our Muslim community. Our country changed forever in March, on what became known as our darkest day, and the ramifications are still being felt here in Aotearoa.
All politics aside, I remain very proud of how our young Prime Minister lead our country through those following days, how she conducted herself with great dignity and, I speak here as a Christian, how I thought she lived out “Christ’s” great example of grace and compassion.
My own family suffered loss with the passing away of my mother and as I reflect back on that week in May, where my brother and I got to help her, care for her and protect her as best we could while she spent her final days on earth, my overwhelming feeling is not one of sadness but of pride.
She died, not nicely, not comfortably, but very well.. Her selfless spirit and care for others, especially her sons was remarkable, and I found her bravery and unwavering faith inspirational. Mum’s dignity, in suffering and then death, in a way that I can’t fully explain or even understand, for a while at least washed my soul clean as the filth of unimportance was replaced by real and unchanging things like love, hope, courage and grace. I am proud and very grateful that she was my mother.
2019 had many great moments for me, a family trip to Sydney, seeing the Millennium Falcon(Star Wars) at Disneyland, helping feed the homeless in downtown San Diego, getting a call from one of my best friends where he cried on the phone because of a health scare and I felt honoured he rang me, singing off-key with the Beer Club Band in Patearoa, writing “Cold September Rain” and of course and not least, the love of family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers which made (and makes) up the great delirious chaotic dance that is life.
Thought for 2020. “There are two ways to get enough: One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” Chesterton
Happy New Year.