by Reverend Father Jean Mawal, St Paul’s Antiochian Orthodox Church priest and Interfaith Network Dandenong president
Having just become the most locked-down city in the world, we are at once reminded of the pains and strains we have come to know and experience as everyday life.
Reflecting over the last 250-odd days we find ‘messages of hope’ that have helped us endure what we thought was unendurable and what seemed to be infinite.
Being an Orthodox Christian parish priest and working with other faith leaders through the Interfaith Network, we have seen and been called upon to offer support during the most difficult circumstances for our communities.
Those who lost loved ones during the lockdowns and unable to offer them traditional or fitting funerals.
Those who have lost and or have had work hours reduced.
Those who have endured loneliness and without another to depend upon.
Those who have had to struggle through home-schooling and work, carrying what seemed like the world on their shoulders.
And those who have been struck with distress because of the world’s condition.
It has been a trialling time for everyone in their own unique way.
There is an idiom which states, ‘a stitch, in time, saves nine’.
For those who have endured to this point perhaps feel as though they have become the most proficient needleworkers.
It is in the small things that we have discovered what is in fact all things.
We have seen ‘messages of hope’ in children enjoying time with their parents.
People praying for and supporting one another during trials.
People stepping out into the fresh air and breathing a sigh of relief in creation.
Humans providing emergency relief and necessities for those who are left without.
And the joys of simple phone calls to those who don’t have someone to communicate with.
The hope for tomorrow comes in the message of hope that we have seen today and yesterday.
What I have learnt throughout this experience is that beauty lies in the small things that connect us together.
The small things that do not cost much, that don’t require so much effort, the things which bring the greatest joy to humanity.
When the world is open once again, let’s not let go of the small stiches that we have sewn that kept us intact during this time and that will bring us much more in the future.