by HELEN LUXFORD
We’ve all been disappointed in life – by people or by when circumstances didn’t go our way. We’ve all disappointed people – in either big or small ways. It seemed to be unavoidable and perhaps even more prevalent now with a mantra of “looking after yourself first – no one else will” being espoused. We’ve certainly had what feels like more than our fair share of disappointment – people promising one thing and doing another, people complaining when you did your best.
How do we pick ourselves up all the time? There are secular concepts of the growth mindset, thinking positively, the list goes on. As Christians, we turn to prayer and live in hope and faith and love. We are called to forgive. This includes forgiving ourselves. Forgiveness, as we all know, is far easier said than done. It seems much easier to hold onto transgressions by others. Often though, we hold on to them long after they occurred and potentially long after the offender has forgotten about it.
I have just recently had the experience, during lockdown, of remembering how very disappointed I was over a couple of things that hadn’t happened. Only to then find that, with the coronavirus and lockdown, that it was an absolute blessing that these issues had worked out the way they had. I know many people have been caught out financially or with trips that have been cancelled, or with medical/surgical/treatment delays. The disruption is immense. Not all of it is positive. Some of it is very frustrating. For us, we have seen both sides of this coin. I am trying to focus on the couple of positive wins for us this lockdown.
Fear and anxiety have wrapped around us with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s being used to excuse all sorts of transgressions. I am very disappointed in the overreach by our Government granting powers to the police to enter private property without warrants. At a time when we have fewer than 80 active cases in the country this seems unwarranted to me. I am strongly disappointed in the continued discrimination by our Prime Minister and Government singling out religious worship as not being able to gather more than 10 worshippers. Restaurants are having up to 10 groups of 10 to a maximum of 100. We too can keep safe social distancing and practise hygiene to do the same. The reasons behind this decision are soft and inconsistent. Schools, for example, are places of social activity, so denying religious groups the right to worship safely is entirely inconsistent. It is a breach of our freedom of religion.
Balancing the needs of everyone is hard. We in New Zealand have gone along with a lockdown to help protect the vulnerable in our community. This quite different to the egocentric attitude of people, for example, in the US. Their individual civil liberties and freedom seem paramount and outweigh their desire to work together to protect others. There is a balance to be had. The cost of keeping us all healthy and away from each other and therefore stopping the spread of coronavirus comes at an economic cost; other health costs, particularly with increased mental health issues – from my anecdotal experience – fewer outpatient clinics and delayed elective surgeries. We need to pray for our leaders that they can make balanced and fair and equitable decisions in this time.
We need to support each other to not be overcome with fear, anxiety, disappointment. Hold on to our faith with prayer. Write to your MP and the Prime Minister to encourage a return to Mass. As I write this column, we can have Masses of nine plus a priest. We were so blessed to have a home Mass on a recent weekend. Support your priest and empower them. We need our faith more than ever at this time to get us all through.
John 10:10; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
(This column was written before the announcement by the Prime Minister on May 25).