Here’s a bit of a challenge to distract you from the mayhem of this week.
If you are a Believer (upper case ‘B’ intended) you live in a world created by your God, do you not? Everything you stand upon, every miracle of birth that happens in the secret nests of the birds or the dens of the animals, or even in the comfy dens we create for ourselves, is His work. The essential stuff of life you owe to Him. The air you breathe is a wonderful balance of poison and balm He and Nature have created together.
The water of the spring that rises from the rocks in the high hills is as pure and perfect. It has a story of thousands of years filtering through the ground beneath you before it finds its way to the sun. And as it begins its journey to the sea it is tuned and moderated by natural things that add to its character, making it worthy to contribute to Ocean in the end.
Until it gets to you. You, personally.
You – the processes of manufacture, the treatment of soil to force unnatural growth, the effluent and detritus you create every time you load your washing machine with powder or your dishwasher with a tablet, every time you discard a wrapper or kick away a tin, add chlorine to your pool, bleach your bathroom, dye your hair?
From its first encounter with our civilisation, all the way to the sea, our stream’s joyous natural run becomes a gauntlet of dead water from ‘purifying’ plants, poisons that have evaded purification, rubbish and other profanities, all of which together will at last ensure the ocean itself will become blighted.
And yet – here’s that challenge bit; you knew I’d get to it eventually – we each of us pursue a life that gauges our worth upon ‘growth’ and ‘success’ – bigger house, more exotic food, larger car, more travel – all of which together make the journey that stream has to undertake so much worse!
Alright, none of this is new. You can maybe excuse yourselves by insisting you do all the token stuff – recycling, saving water, only buying organic, etc.. But brothers and sisters, the beat goes on. You may lessen your impact, but you still make one. In your quest for that elusive ‘success’ you always will.
What if you’re making the biggest mistakes of your Earthly lives? What if, when you of faith arrive at your Pearly Gates, Peter assesses your eligibility not on the worthiness of your life but purely upon how little damage you’ve done? What if church on Sunday didn’t matter a jot; just a huddle of people having a sing and uttering a few platitudes to assuage their guilt?
What if there was really a trap door that felt sort of warm to your feet, and a lingering smell of sulphur in the air?
No, I’m not a Thunberg disciple or even a Christian. So I’m not espousing a yurt-ish lifestyle or a composting toilet, nor am I likely to give up my small, economical car. All I’m saying is COVID has given us this chance to re-think and we should take it. We shouldn’t simply emerge from under in a panic and re-commence our harem-scarem chase after a pinnacle of success we can none of us ever reach. We should give the philosophers and the meritocrats a chance.
Consider this for a moment as you drain your Jacuzzi or your bath with all those oils, or your kitchen sink, or discard that plastic bottle as you seek your personal target on your morning run.
Or perhaps revise your religious views? Ask yourself: what does He really think of you?