Sunday, 22 September 2013

Apocaholics and Seeing Beauty

One of the speakers that I have enjoyed learning from here at the Common Dreams Conference is Bruce Sanguin. Before arriving, I had heard of Sanguin but never read any of his material. During tonight's public lecture he encouraged us with some recommendations for moving into the future. He listed and explained ten different points, but a few of them,for me, were centred around a similar theme.

I learnt a new term during the explanation- apocaholic. This describes a person who is obsessed with what is wrong in the world. They see no goodness or beauty around them, only doom and gloom. They see oppression, injustice, pain and suffering almost exclusively. Sanguin encouraged us to open our eyes to the goodness, the beauty and the love that surrounds us. We need to be aware and ready to see. We need to offer hope and tell the stories of beauty from our own life experience.

I found it very easy to see the beauty in life today. I was fortunate to be able to catch up with an "old" friend from my days in Tonga. We shared lunch together and I got to meet her husband and their six day old baby. Memories of a beautiful country and a people, familiar smiles and the hope and potential bundled into a new born all lifted my heart and warmed my spirit. For a few hours, any despair I may have felt about the situation in Syria, the plight of asylum seekers, the decline of the church or anything else were put aside as I bathed in the goodness of being in the present moment. 

And tonight, on returning to our apartment we watched the last quarter of the AFL preliminary final. This may not seem such a big deal, but I am not a footy person usually. For those of you unaware, the Fremantle Dockers were playing Sydney Swans for a place in the grand final next week. Fremantle won convincingly! But what came next filled me with hope as I watched the beauty and goodness unfold. The crowd erupted, united in support of their team who were to play in their first ever grand final. The players graciously congratulated each other on a good game. And the winning team payed tribute to an opposing player who was retiring from the game. Goodness, beauty and love abounds!

So lets keep our eyes open to the beauty around us lest we become an apocaholic.

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