Identity as a marker of connection is a sign of health in a culture that exalts individual accomplishments above all else. When asked for an introduction, listen to how seamlessly many rush to list job titles first. Compare that to our celebration of NAIDOC Week where an elder performed a ceremony by introducing himself through his mob and country. His opening revealed a depth of wisdom from which we would all do well to heed, the honouring of ancestors and remembering of their contribution to who we are. Yesterday, on Remembrance Day, we did the same.
So, who am I? Well, I’ve spent a bit of time this week just being an uncle, hearing about the adventures of my nieces who live in country Victoria, Miss 6 described in intimate detail how their new puppy is dealing with life. So, if asked, this week to describe myself, I would have to say, “I’m the uncle of three amazing youngsters who all know how to ride horses, also I’m the son of a loving couple who this week celebrated 48 years of marriage”. Happy anniversary! If your marriage can survive two rounds of lockdown, you know it’s a pretty special one.
I was recently invited to lunch with a mate who was excited to tell me that he has just been accepted into the course of his dreams. We simply sat together and smiled. His has been a life of difficulties and disappointments and through it all he has emerged filled with hope. As I was captured in this moment he snuck out the back and paid for our meal. This was a gift of immense generosity, I know how tight his budget is and what it would have taken to save enough for it. I was a little embarrassed and insisted on paying, but he proceeded to tell me off, “I am doing this for the same reason I’m studying, to be there for others, the way others have been there for me.” It’s hard to not melt in the presence of such love, and I’m grateful to say that even though we aren’t related by blood, he is my brother.
So when I am asked how we will be celebrating Christmas, I think about people like him, for whom there will be likely no invitation to celebrate with family. When we think about it in those terms the answer becomes simple. In spite of all the obstacles and orders, and even though this year will be like no other, we will do everything we can to ensure Christmas is stretched out to a week of celebrations, culminating in a series of smaller gatherings in Kings Cross and a larger one in Bondi Beach. They will all be safe, and equally they will ensure that there will be a place prepared with love for everyone and that no one is left behind. You can Donate a Plate to help feed someone in our community who is experiencing homelessness and keep our kitchens cooking over the Christmas and holiday season.
Thanks for being part of our Inner Circle.