More Notes from The Orchard – 44
The Jet Stream has either found how to get back into its giddy teen years or it has stumbled into its second childhood. One way or another, its erratic progress so far through 2017 has given us some very strange weather patterns. We get too much rain or too little, interspersed with settled conditions which we think heralds a welcome change to summer. Then a sudden burst of temper erupts into heavy rain and gales with temperatures dropping like a walk through the famous fur-filled wardrobe into winter. Indeed, some northern parts of the country have truly been wrapped in snow. In June!
Whatever the weather, our own lives since the beginning of last month have proved to be an unhappy and unsettling sort of reflection. The election has left the country dangling – naturally with a hung parliament – where nobody is satisfied.
Much as I dislike listening to the radio these days, I did hear a very interesting programme a few days ago when one of their less biased correspondents gave an interesting talk. He based his historical point of view on the period from 1870 onwards. He suggested that big changes come round roughly every 30 – 40 years and that we are in the first quarter of one now, starting with the 2008 financial crash. If you look back on your own time line it does seem to figure out. . .
Certainly, sourcing the news in all its forms today, from old-fashioned newspapers, social media, general internet information, to radio and television - there is an increasing and much wider awareness that the world is unfair: the divisions between the haves and have-nots worldwide have never been so clearly defined.
Impoverished peoples south of the Mediterranean are being pushed by the options of being mown down by war, sickness and poverty or going North. There they hope to be able to share in the wondrous ‘Land of Plenty’ they see in films and Western advertising.
Daily we see pictures showing flimsy boatloads of desperate people braving the terrors of the sea heading for what they perceive to be their Promised Land. And we close our eyes, hands and hearts to them and live just for the day, certainly not considering the possibility of more and more people joining us to get some of our ‘good life’ in the North. Truly, we do not wish to share what we have and continue to cry out ‘We must look after our own first!’
In this country, this land of Europe, there are of course ‘poor people’ though many of these are rich compared with those who have nothing at all: no health care, insufficient food and clothing – especially shoes, no education for the children, no respect for women, and no safe place to live.
I cry for those refugees who have sore and aching feet but have to keep on walking, walking. . .
I also find myself thinking of this when at the same time hearing other news which tells of wondrous discoveries which will improve our lives, our health, our futures – indeed make it possible to stay alive longer and longer; and then I ask to what end?
At that point my mind always goes back to the Book of Genesis, where Adam and Eve are put into the Garden of Eden, where almost everything that grew was theirs, gifted by God. The one thing they were not to eat was the fruit of ‘the tree of knowledge of good and evil for the day you eat of that you are doomed to die.’
Our desire to know everything has brought us good and evil and we are stuck with them. We have the choice though: we can choose all good things, we can choose life. But we don’t. We seem to choose the wrong ones every time. We choose selfishness over kindness and bombs and bullets instead of how make the deserts flower. We choose war over peace. Instead of loving our neighbours we turn inwards and love ourselves. . .
No wonder Jesus wept.