26 days until departure
In response to the daily prompt
This last weekend, my parents went to Wales to a celebratory lunch in honour of my brother’s parents-in-law and their fiftieth wedding anniversary. To me, fifty years seems like a remarkably long period of time – an almost unimaginable length. Although, it is true that each day and each year seems to be flying past more and more quickly than the last. Clichéd though it is, it honestly does feel like yesterday that I was starting university, when – in reality – it was two years ago.
It seems a little like the world is on the cusp of a great change. That’s only a feeling, though. The reality is that the world as a whole never undergoes great changes, with all of its separate components in perfect synchronisation. The world has been changing seriously within my short lifetime, and is continuing to change now. Each part changes in ways subtly different to those of others, at disparate rates, at disparate temperatures, in disparate time zones. Just two months ago, Britain chose to overturn forty (not fifty, sadly, that really would have fit neatly) years of history and voted to leave the European Union. Things that seem set in stone can fluctuate at any time, sometimes without cause. We live in a world where you can go out to celebrate and be deliberately run over by a truck, where you can find yourself at the heart of a nation shaken by an attempted coup, where one of the world’s most powerful nations could be about to elect a man with dangerous and backward political views to lead it. In such a world, it is easy to feel scared and unsettled.
But this is also a world where the Catholic Church – a bastion of conservatism – can announce that it intends to allow women deacons, where gay athletes can propose to each other on television, where we can invent a video game which takes millions back to their childhoods and encourages them to explore the outside world. Things are changing, but it’s unclear whether positive or negative is winning, or even sometimes what comes under positive, and what has to be classed as negative. Revolutions, for example, are regularly aimed at building better worlds, but don’t always succeed. A lot has changed in the last fifty years, and a lot will change in the next. Such a state of affairs highlights the need to hold on to the things that we value, and be grateful for them every single day, just as my brother’s parents-in-law have, over half a century of living in an uncertain world.