As I reached out for the key that would let me into my house, rain dripped in large, targeted globules from the already clogged guttering, breaking over my uncovered head like some sort of anti-firework. The grey demeanour surrounding the street looked uninviting, while the wind was determined to slam the barely opened door back in my face. I hurried inside to the promise of warmth, shelter and all the comforts that only home can bring.
In my castle, I am safe. In my castle, I am in charge. In my castle, the world can’t touch me.
And these are the falsehoods so many people have come to realise just don’t represent reality. Economic uncertainty, Brexit, Trump, Syrian refugees and an ever increasing national debt all represent a world that seems more disunited than ever. We are now supposedly closer to the end of the world as we know it than we have been since 1953 (when America and Russia first began testing their own versions of the atomic bomb), a situation that then lasted 7 long years and inspired many James Bond plot lines.
The truth is, that the safety we feel in our home merely helps us to disconnect from the world around us. Comfort has bred complacency. And yet…
I can’t help but feel inspired by what I see on social media and on television. Millions of people from across the globe are uniting like never before. People who had had to fight for their rights for so long are returning to the picket line. I can’t see anyone holding up signs saying ‘I’m against protests’. In fact, Obama himself has said that protesting is a vital part of free speech, breaking the silence normally kept by past presidents, although still allowing a certain amount of respect for tradition by not directly criticising his successor.
People who have classically settled for a peaceful life have woken up and realised that the values they believe are right are under threat and worth protecting. I have seen more Bible verses quoted supporting compassion for refugees, the homeless, the needy and others than at any other time in the past ten years. I have seen more people suddenly politically active and interested than at any time previously. I have witnessed a reawakening as people realise that their shelters are shaking and need to be defended.
It was Steve McQueen once said “When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.” In contrast, Mother Teresa said “We do not need bombs and guns to bring peace, we need love and compassion.”
I encourage you to stand for what is right, with compassion and love as the lenses through which you perceive truth. Anything which does not meet these two criteria – anything that seems heartless or hate filled – should be discarded quickly. Selfishness – protecting my home above any other – will not work in a world so globally connected. Only when we clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience can we hope to see life lived in its’ fullness – satisfying, enriching and filled with joy.
Anything less is not enough.