G’day one and all. It’s summer so I hope you’re either reading this blog with a fresh cold drink on a glorious day off in the sun, or recovering with your iPhone in a cosy pub somewhere with a Ploughmans after a climb up a high, high mountain – a happy day.
It was a happy day much like one of these that I remember this instinct to write turning into focus in my head for one day after I got back from holiday. Well, this one day happens to be today – thank you for reading.
We’d been stood for literally 5 hours waiting for Sigur Rós to emerge from behind the scaffolding and smoke as we dwelt in London’s Victoria Park to see one of the best bands in the world. Crisp cider in hand and a rucksack-full of fresh fruit, we shouted, clapped and screamed through a couple of bands (including the very cool Caribou) before the Icelandic legends struck their first open chord. It was such a great day: Sigur Rós were more amazing than I’d expected (and I expected), Caribou were coolness personified as sundown came and went and the incomprable Nathaniel Rateliff just made everyone very happy.
Then it struck me – this is the way it’s supposed to be.
Sure, there were a couple of wollies who wanted to bypass festival etiquette by trying to barge to the front, yes there was a heady smell of weed everywhere and yes a few people fainted and had to be thrown over the security fence like a mannequin to receive first aid. But by and large everyone was loving it – the sun was shining, immense bands were playing 6ft away and everyone was treating everyone else respectfully and having a whole load of fun.
But as the beats per minute looped on and on, there was another world not very far away:
Terrorism, greedy banks, dividing countries, Dictators, sex scandals, wars, rumours of wars, crumbling economies…I think we’re all a little numb from not only the accelerating pace of the atrocities and stresses that seem to punctuate our days, but the peculiar numbness that comes from the constancy of dysfunction of society’s fraying – something’s not right and we know it somewhere deep inside, wondering, as we all do, if it will ever come to stare us in the face more closely to home.
It’s called fear.
This momenatry oasis of Citadel’s summer festival was respbite from the evil that is far too dominant in all of our worlds. But it was more than a mirage.
Maybe most folk weren’t thinking about the countires under attack from terrorism as Sigur Rós played another G#m and lit up the sky. But isn’t there a tiredness in all of us with evil and murder and atrocity? A kind of internal fatigue that comes when we hear of yet more carnage and flagrant disregard for the sanctity of life and yet we don’t know what to say…so normally we don’t – we just sigh and hold our nearest and dearest a little tighter. Or perhaps we drink too much so as not to think about it. Or end up taking drugs and fainting and being thrown over a metal blocade like a rag doll.
We all have to deal with the outrage and the fear and we’ll all deal with it in different ways. But there is one consequence of the accumulation of these sad days that should be the same for all of us blessed with rational sanity: we should all be learning to love the sanctity of life that we’ve been given, the peace in cohabiting respectfully together and the grace to be thankful for every tiniest blessing along the way.
Humanity isn’t created for guns and race wars and genocide and atrocious greed; humainity is created to dwell together in unity and to revel in the unity found only there.
When the Pharisee tested Jesus with a question about the law, the Messiah replied
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (See Matthew 22:37-38).
As I wrap up these musings about the struggle of good and evil in our days, and the small glimpses of how things are supposed to be despite them, perhaps these freedom words about loving God and loving each other as we should could be more of a comfort than we might have ever thought.