In the week when Pope Francis became the first-ever pontiff to endorse same-sex unions and teaching us all to embrace humanity, when South Africa makes a further step towards truth and reconciliation, when there appear to be more steps taken towards social cohesion and away from societal disintegration, this morning I saw a natural phenomenon I have never seen before – a rainbow at dawn when it was barely light. It appeared to rise out of the hills just across the river from me and ascend almost vertically while pink clouds dispersed and the first golden light lit up the horizon. I was mesmerised with its beauty but also with its symbolism. I felt bathed in hope and the excitement of possibility. Then after a while, I came here to my desk and the first thing I read, was this quotation from Stephen Hawking …
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
I’m curious as to where we are going, about how we will adapt to change, about how we will heal the great rifts in society and come to a lasting peace while still encouraging debate and opposition that will make us stretch and grow. And for me, the answer remains as it always has (maybe I should update it…) that we need to love more, respect more, honour each other, celebrate diversity and be willing to share all of our resources from food to finance, knowledge and discovery so that we all advance together, leaving no one behind. Sure, there are issues that appear to be insoluble, but the challenge is to keep on trying to find solutions which are just for all.
And all of this progress must begin with respect of each others value, culture, and personal experience. We need to be willing to listen and really hear, not talk over each other, shout each other down and ignore people’s pleas simply to be heard. We need to look at daily violations of human rights and check out our own violations even in the way we speak and address each other, or waste someone’s time, or take away their dignity with a careless bit of gossip. How can we replace that with small acts of kindness, smiling and listening rather than frowning and dismissing others opinions? How can we replace negativity and cynicism with hope and bring back confidence and trust in each other’s word and intention? Yes, I’m curious. But I know it is possible if enough of us try just a bit harder.
So back to my hope of this morning when I saw this rainbow (which I watched until I had absorbed its message and it finally dispersed) … I’m hoping for reconciliation on a large scale. I’m hoping for peace. I’m hoping for inclusive love of humanity and for a concerted effort to deal with climate change, world hunger, poverty. I hope for justice and.. and… and… My list is long so I also hope someone’s listening…
Have a great day!