Friday, June 09, 2006

Life issues

I’ve been watching the television news and am left with a couple of questions as a result of the two top stories. What is it like for families to lose someone who has caused so much death and destruction that, instead of showing sympathy, people are demonstrating satisfaction? How does it feel for a family to know that one of their number has committed such a terrible crime that others are saying that a life sentence is too short?

Moving away from crime, just take a look at some of the homeless beggars on the streets, or some of the individuals who should really be in some sort of psychiatric institution could one be found that would actually manage to keep them on the premises without them wandering away. Once upon a time, they were children looking forward to a birthday, to school holidays, to Christmas or some other celebration and never imagined that a future of no hope and no home awaited them.

Some of life’s questions have no easy answer, or at least, have no answer that is without pain and suffering. There was a time when I worked in an Accident and Emergency dept of a London hospital, a hospital in one of the roughest areas of the city, where weekends were often marked by attempted suicides, drug overdoses and so on. Quite often I would leave the hospital feeling soiled by some of the sordid stories I’d heard and witnessed and would have to deliberately immerse myself in something beautiful to counteract the effects of the day. During that period, I read and listened to so much poetry, luxuriating in the intricacy and meaning of words positioned in such a way that they created loveliness. I emerged feeling cleansed, invigorated and strengthened by my contact with greatness.

We all need beauty. C.S. Lewis wrote that ‘human beings cannot bear too much reality’. Every day has its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows. It occurs to me that we are really very fortunate because there are ways, even during the most difficult days, of taking ‘minute vacations’. Wherever life is hardest, that is where God’s strength is most truly there for the asking.

God bless,
Sr. Janet