Over the past few months, I've often found myself returning to our 2020 Marist theme and the question that sits behind it. 'What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?' just couldn't have been better chosen for the times in which we find ourselves.
Yes, life is indeed wild, as we well know in new and radical ways. Wild in its unpredictability, wild in its extremes, wild in the way it expects us to respond with integrity to the most challenging of situations time and time again.
And don’t we also have a new perspective on its preciousness? On our vulnerability – individually and collectively? On the reality that at any given moment, what we hold dear can be lost.
In this, I’ve been thinking not just about life itself (for surely the virus has made us all consider that our life and those for whom we care is more precious and precarious than ever), but also the elements of life we can take for granted: graciousness, care for the vulnerable, social order.
Yes, there have (and will continue to be) wonderful examples of generosity, gentleness and patience, but so too, we have seen that when the preciousness of a calm and ordered life is disrupted or threatened, it doesn’t take much for us to be tipped into the lesser acknowledged traits of our humanity (selfishness, greed, verbal and even physical violence).
Yes, life is both wild and precious, and still, it is undoubtedly in these wild times that our commitment to the preciousness of all life is most sorely tested, including the extent to which we are prepared to challenge the inclination in ourselves, in each other and in our society to be inward-facing, at a time when we are simultaneously called to isolate.
That is, that in our isolation, can we not just continue, but indeed grow in our commitment to live and set an example of a life deeply rooted in appreciating the preciousness of kindness, humility, generosity, gratefulness and indeed, of love.
This edition of Shandon Calls is unique in format and content. I hope it provides you with some moments of respite and a sense of connection.
Some great lives are celebrated and some quiet, treasured moments are highlighted. Thank you to all who have contributed – we appreciate your generosity in these disruptive times.