Saturday is important, too.

It’s Easter Saturday, here in the southern hemisphere. The strange, in-between day; the hiatus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I think Easter Saturday is a slice of reality. We can be so caught up in our own grief and pain, that it comes as a huge surprise that the rest of the world is continuing life as normal. Here we are, wrapped up in sorrow and introspection, and there’s the rest of the world going camping, playing sport, hunting for bargains in the local shops, doing a bit of D.I.Y around the house, as if nothing momentous has happened. But, that’s how it is: life continues. For those of us who are grieving, Easter Saturday teaches us that grieving is a natural process that has its own rhythm and timing.  Saturday is just as important as Friday and Sunday. The hope of the Easter story, however, is that even though we have been through the agony of Friday, Sunday – the day of joy and new beginnings – isn’t that far away. We just have to hang in there through the sadness of Friday, and then the numbness of Saturday, and eventually Sunday will dawn. Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, surely this is still something you need to hear this Easter? At times it seems as though Evil is winning but don’t despair: life continues; hope isn’t quenched; there is a new day coming. As the Old Book puts it: “There is weeping in the night but joy comes with the...

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Not sparking, Jan!

It’s Saturday morning and all is quiet in the neighbourhood. The dingbat who thought it was smart to mow the lawn at the crack of dawn has finally put the machine away. The Old Boy is out buying us a new oven, after one too many disasters for dinner. I had to keep raising the temperature to get the same results and I’ve never been a good guesser. I’m doing my best to avoid politics this week. It all gets a bit depressing. I wish I could stop caring about things. I’m sure life would be simpler if I lived with my head in the sand. I’m currently plagued with thoughts that, perhaps, I’m just toying with the thought of being a writer rather than actually being one. I mean, I know a number of writers and they’re all super busy with it, all the time. Several of them churn out two or three books a year. I take over 4 years to get one done … and I seem to be slowing down! The spark plugs in my oomph cylinders just aren’t arcing like they should. I’m not sparking, Jan! I’m not sure whether to blame the drugs I’m on; my physical condition and my mental health (lately, I’m struggling a bit with the knowledge that I’m living with a disease that threatens my mortality, and constant pain really does wear a person down), or whether I’m just a self-indulgent layabout with dreams of grandeur. It’s probably just that life’s roller coaster is currently down in one of those swoopy troughs in between the hills. Maybe a new oven, and a decent dinner for a change, is all that I...

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Oompa Loompa for president

I’ve been watching the American race for president for a while now. Like the rest of the world, at first I thought, “Trump is obviously the joke candidate, brought in for some light relief.” But, it’s gone beyond a joke now. In fact, it’s become both disturbing and rather frightening. It looks most likely that he will win the Republican nomination. If he wins the election, he may be the next president of the United States. (God help us all.) I’ve been having a sense of political deja vu. Before our last election, there were plenty of people who warned us that Mr Abbott was not a good candidate for Prime Minister. The more people made fun of his idiosyncrasies, the more his weaknesses and foibles were pointed out, the more people leaped to his defence. The same seems to be happening with Mr Trump. I hear, “He’s not afraid to speak his mind”; “He’s an intelligent man”; “He knows what he’s talking about”; “We should treat him with respect”….and I think, “Oh no. He’s smart enough to make everyone overlook how smart he isn’t.” He knows how to manipulate people’s fears so that they will think he’s the only one who will be able to protect them from the rest of the big scary world. Unfortunately, if he becomes president, the world will become even scarier. The difference between the two democracies of America and Australia is that in the U.S. people elect the president, independent of the rest of the party. In Australia, we elect the party and the party chooses who will be the leader. On the plus side for the Americans, they get a say in who will be the leader of the country. On the downside, they are then stuck with him for at least four years and maybe eight. Plenty of time to make a horrendous mess. In Australia the downside is that we have to accept the leader that the party chooses. The plus side is that if the leader turns out to be useless, too authoritarian, or too annoying, or who gets up the nose of the voting public, the party can get rid of them at any time and replace them with someone who may, or may not, do a better job. This has happened a number of times in the last four or five decades. And, even many of the staunchest L.N.P. voters were relieved when Mr Abbott was finally given the heave-ho. Why am I even bothered by who will become the leader of another country? Because we’re talking about America. We have treaties with them. We’re allies. What America decides to do often means we get to do it, too, especially when it comes to war. (Eg: Vietnam; the Gulf War; the invasion of Iraq; the war in Afghanistan…) The ebb and flow of their economy affects the rest of the world. They’re big, they’re rich, they have lots of weapons and they’re not afraid to use them. The world is changing. One of the biggest changes in countries with European foundations (including America and Australia) is the rising challenge to white people’s sense of entitlement and superiority. I think this is a good thing. Quite frankly, the horrors inflicted upon indigenous people around the world by white colonialists, is a permanent stain on our history. Racism, acknowledged by everyone as not acceptable, nevertheless is still endemic in our societies. It’s time that stuff is gone, once for all. Are the blacks in both our countries getting angrier and more assertive? Well I, for one, can understand why. But a lot of people find this a bit threatening. Along comes an orange-skinned (is he perhaps a bit obsessed with eating carrots? Or is he a tall Oompa Loompa?), strangely-coiffed, narcissistic, pompous media whore, who says, “You can trust me to deal with this. If we don’t like ’em, we’ll nuke ’em” and all the frightened people think, “Oh thank the good Lord! Finally, a strong leader who will make us great again.” I just wish we’d all start thinking a little more clearly with our brains, instead of other parts of our anatomies....

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