Posts Tagged ‘Love of Neighbour’

Care for Neighbour

Posted: September 11, 2021 by Ty in Spirituality
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Fatigue can set in having the same conversation that lands on stones over and over. It feels like the proverb of entertaining a fool, or the gospel parable of seeds that fall upon the rocks. Yet that is where we are at in this moment in time in Canada. A place where rock/pebbles can be pelted by protestors at Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau, with threats to assassinate, and folks look to blame him. Where anti-vaxxers in Alberta are protesting hospitals, yes hospitals, barring access for patients and slowing ambulance responses. Ambulances that are already in crisis, and the regionalization of 911 has not aided in. Where farm supply stores have to keep livestock dewormer locked away and have one provide proof of ownership because people are literally drinking it, because the internet said it treated covid (because who wants to listen to science). Where health care, human service and educators are faced with constant abuse for trying to aid and help, burning out and yes, we are losing good people in the field, as Government policy provincially has targetted them as not essential. Students angry over having to prove vaccination (as well as other workers)…led me into a dip of despair as I entered my morning contemplation.

My Morning meditations brought me to these two passages from my tradition:

Do to others as you would have them do to you.-Luke 6:31 (New International Version)

A poster on my kitche wall, that I got after seeing it in the dining hall of the FCJ Christian Life Centre dining hall on retreat.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Everything in the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments.”

-Matthew 22:36-40 (New Catholic Bible)

Which led me to this sermonette on Facebook emerging from these passages and reflecting on c-tine:

21. That is how many in my circles have gone to the Great Tea Party during c-tine. 21 I will never see again in this life. 21 ranging in age from 12-82. 21 who some I found out about while teaching real time online, and then went back to supporting my students to success. Some gone due to covid, due to isolation, due to other health issues, due to inability to access care due to covid overrunning our system. 21 who brought joy to others life. 21 who I honoured and celebrated on my own because we could not gather and share laughter, love and tears… and why does this matter? Simple, I cannot believe the amount of selfishness and self-entitled privilige within our world, inability to mask, to distance, to vaccinate…truly an inability to care for one another. Those that slam religion saying its atrocious, but live into their own hedonism, those who are religious that have missed the point of their sacred teachings and need to revisit what it means to treat others as you want to be treated, within my own tradition to love your neighbour. Do not use your name for the Holy to hide your own folly.Our interdependent (because in the Commonwelath, we are not independent) rights are precipitated upon communal responsibility. Family and friends in health care and human services, being abused by those suffering who refuse to be vaccinated, protested, threatened, burning out, and yes this includes educators. Gaslit by those who encourage the division and misinformation at the highest levels.And now, communal responsibility is being asserted as it should have been months ago, and the outcry…mandated vaccination for those who are able has always been a thing, my son gets vaccinated because in his community he can to protect the many of his buddies that can’t. Serving the majority of my life to aid others, I have been mandated many times to take vacinnes and testing to keep those I serve and my colleagues safe– Meningitis, Flu, H1N1, TB testing, STI/HIV testing, Anti-retrovirals when possibly exposed, proving I received my childhood vaccinations, and the list goes on…The virus is doing what anything does in nature, mutates to thrive or die. We have an opportunity to have it die or at the very least shut down the thriving, but do we have the capacity to actually give a damn about someone outside ourselves?

As my family journeys through Ezekiel, a major prophet in the Hebrew Bible (due to the fact it is a longer work). My youngest chose, what does Ezekiel do? He points out to the nation essentially where they have forgotten the other. They have made life completely about themselves, their own greed…and the destruction this leads too as community is forgotten, and the consequence for that is a brutal exile of loss and devastation. The call back to what it is about… are we able to answer the call back?

Are we able to give a damn about others?

It could be a rant, but truly at this point it is an earnest question. Born, raised and continue living in Alberta seen and read about many social conservatives (out of Christendom and other religions) politicians and governments within my province, and the base rock for Federal. Yet at this time of C-tine, the question is in my mind, how is it possible (even with some rust on the buckle), that Canada’s bible belt equivalent province struggles so much with love thy neigbour?

34 But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

-Gospel of Matthew 22:34-40 (New King James Version)

To love our neighbour as we love ourselves and love God. I have written many times unpacking this passage in different ways, so I am not going to deep on that now. Yet, here we are as a province with pandering to anti-mask/anti-vax/anti-science bases, over-dramatized to downright untrue stories from our governance around issues, and basically a sentiment began from our Premier and shared by many that those who are dying (now 500+) are past their best before date or had co-morbidities so it is all good (those of low human capital, a favourite term of our current provincial government).

Which raises many questions on the humanity of the religious who claim freedoms in our province? For it was not the call to the individual, but to the communal freedom, love and belonging.

Let’s re-humanize our statistics, have the releases signed not to share age, region, gender and they had co-morbidities, but rather, age, region and name. I mean, how many even know what co-morbidity is? They believe it is a death sentence to begin with, no these are two or more occurring chronic (ongoing) conditions? Do you know someone with two conditions? Mental, physical or neurological health? High blood pressure? Depression? Anxiety? Cystic Fibrosis? MS (that we lead Canada in)? Cancer? How about those covid 20 that you can’t shake? Epilepsy? PTSD? OCD? Substance Abuse/use disorder? Carpal Tunnel? The list goes on an on…

The term coupled with age, is used to de-humanize the disease and reduce severity so the base is appeased. It is like the 1991 Star Trek The Next Generation episode, “Half-Life” (S.4,Ep.22) that created an ethical discussion at the time in my school, but also with parents. The crux is Timicin (played wonderfully by David Ogden Stiers), whose species at age 65 end their own lives as “their time is up” or “they are past their best before date”. In the episode this becomes a debate as he develops an intimate relationship with Betazed Ambassador, Lwaxana Troi (mother of Ship Counsellor Deanna Troi), and it ensues about quality of life, purpose and belonging. I encourage you to have a virtual watch party with friends outside your household, and watch within your household to discuss the key points of this with our current situation. As this can create a different lens to look at how we view life and death, and what matters. But this is not the only challenge facing us, in those hard conversations we need to have around the dinner (or communion) table.

The other, with current restrictions announced due to lack of concern for anyone outside your own skin (Alberta’s public health emergency restrictions can be found here) in an attempt to bend the curve back down, find out trackable data (as we have 85%+ cases on traceable) over the next three weeks. Has led to much llama dramas on line. Some throwing shade about religious organizations allowed to stay open at 1/3 capacity, and why on businesses, most being about big box vs small businesses closing open (conflating restrictions of other provinces with our own). Are these restrictions perfect? No, but even though I do not support that the UCP has the moral or ethical right to governance (ongoing criminal investigations), I will follow through for care for my family and neighbour.

What is saddening and maddening is the many religious sharing posts about Alberta being 70 years rat free so don’t become one on your neighbours now, or don’t snitch. Like the stereotypical “snitches get stitches” . Seriously, when did we as grown ass adults begin acting like pre-adolescents enamoured with faux hip hop culture?

Or as I shared on Facebook today:

“It’s not about not “snitching” on your neighbours at the holidays for the social gathering, that is being gaslit like in an abusive relationship. Seriously, it is about our neighbours having enough care and respect to follow the rules so we do not have to call 311 to have a healthy AHS that can respond to our current pandemic, epidemic, emerging epidemic, and outbreak. But hey, let’s continue giving those that can’t follow rules a pass.”

And as one friend pointed out, how easily we compartmentalize and pick and choose what we will call in our neighbour on. Noise complaints? Speeding? Parking? Loud or at large animals? Not shovelling snow? Think about what happens to our society, if we do not hold one another accountable?

This doesn’t even go deep into the neighbourhood watch to prevent crime, which if my neighbours do not have discernment and care with these how can I trust them if my car is being stolen or house being prowled? Starting to see how the “not my problem” begins to flow?

This is not even with jumping on the not mandatory vaccine discussion the Premier opened up to pander to his slipping away base. Which, I am sure my stance on that will lose even more “Facebook friends” but for those able to take the vaccine (any vaccine) it is a care of neighbour, why my kids both got the HPV one.

As I sit, having wrestled with the new restrictions, and lowering our house into more of a shut down (my one kids cohort with her best friend has come to an end, I miss their giggles and joy and it has only been one day), we are here because of a provincial quorums of adults that refused to adult. As I watch the video feed of the 200 person “freedom march” -anti-mask rally in Calgary this morning, I do hope that they are all levied the $1000 fines to send a strong message. Reading in the paper that due to lack of corporate care at CF Chinook yesterday in limiting to 25% capacity city police had to be used to evacuate people and I know these restrictions are supposed to be re-looked at on Dec. 15.

Where I am at now?

Christmas is different this year. Looking like my household, as we find new joys, way to share love, and know we are doing this, because many may not see us as “believers” or “Christian enough”, but I can honestly tell you it is about following through on love of neighbour.

The question for our “Bible Belt” is do you get it?

Because I am tired of your Pharisee ways.