Three images from the news last night caused me to stop and wonder what life is all about. The first was of a candle lit vigil in Ballinteer, a community responding to the death of two children and a mother in their estate. The neighbours were stunned into silence and the moved into an action that showed to the wide world that they are a community with a big heart.
The family that suffered this unbelievable loss hadn’t lived among them for long, but these neighbours had a well-established sense of their own social connections, they knew well what it means to welcome the stranger, to live in solidarity with each other and to how to act in the face of tragedy.
To stand in silence, with a candle in hand, brings heartfelt love to loss and expresses a hope that is hard to put into words. In the creation story light was the first expression of God creating a home for his people and on every Easter Saturday night it is light we carry into the darkness of the empty church, as a symbol that God’s love is stronger than any human darkness.
The second was a short film clip that is often shown on the news when Mother and Baby homes are being discussed. It shows us rows and rows of metal framed cots, with immaculate white bedding and tiny toddlers lying on their backs, kicking up the legs, as babies do. There is no adult in the image, no mother, or carers, no nuns, nurses or staff, just the little ones.
This image always moves me to hope that a bell will ring, the door open and all the actions, sounds and activity that we associate with the care of children will be seen. I see the image in my mind in colour and project some love, warmth and compassion into this unbearably stark image. Surely no human heart could be satisfied with the clinical chill of the image.
The third image was of a wave in Donegal. A huge wave, curling at the top, and in the tunnel a young man on a surf board, riding the wave. The TV was muted when I saw it first and I could only marvel at the power of nature, the beauty of the wave itself and the incredible skill of the surfer, strong, courageous and accomplished.
We have been given the gift of life and day by day we are challenged to make the most of it with an awareness of our own gifts, of the needs of others and with a deep desire to care and protect each other and the earth itself.
This is God’s plan, our daily task and we must never tire of doing the right thing.