This Christmas we finally crossed the border to celebrate with our family and SA friends. The reunion was sweeter for the apprehensive time waiting. Would S.A. slam the border shut as in the previous year? Would we be quarantined when we arrived? Would we catch COVID in the process? So many questions – all thankfully answered ‘No’! How wonderful it was to see everyone in person again and hang out together. It was definitely worth the risks involved.
My border crossing was easy and pleasant, being my choice to return to those who love me. This is far from the case for many people around the world, who choose a risky path of escape from hazardous situations and are then detained for their efforts, sometimes for many years. Solutions are complex, but start with our compassion. The Asylum Seekers Centre and UNHCR offer ways we can help these people.
Crossing over from one place, or station in life, to another, is often cause for some anxiety for us too, even if it’s a favourable change. Relationship changes, re-locating, changing jobs or retirement may be chosen or forced upon us, but how we embrace them is up to us. I find the apostle Paul inspirational here, the following being written from prison:
… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him (Christ) who gives me strength. (The Bible, Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)
Can we learn to be content whatever change assails us? Can we be empathic with those trying to manage their life transitions too? Having someone to walk a new path with us can be a great help. As your Community Chaplain, I am ready to offer support in your change process. You may also know someone close to you, to whom you can offer some encouragement as they cross a new border. Newcomers to this area can find a warm welcome in our groups that provide social connection over coffee, books, walking, discussion and even meditation. Contact me, or visit my website below, for more details.
The love of one's country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?
The articles here are currently written by Liam McKenna, Lane Cove Community Chaplain.