Opening up


Photo: Wayne Hawkins, The Age

The terrorist attack in Paris seems to have opened up our hearts in a way that other attacks rarely do. There has been a lot of talk about the fact that the attacks in Paris on Friday have received much more media attention and public outpouring of grief than similar events in Lebanon, Iraq and Kenya. It seems like the Western media can empathise more easily with victims of terrorism in Western countries. But I wonder if this moment is an opportunity to see that these kind of events are happening all the time. People are open to what has happened in Paris, and it could be an opportunity to open ourselves to what happened in Lebanon and Iraq at the same time; and in Kenya earlier in the year.

Why everyone should get to do some cleaning

During part of my time in Ballaarat and for my first couple of years back in Melbourne I spent some of my time working as a cleaner. Each Friday night I’d go and clean offices. What I noticed was that it seemed that in some of the offices no-one did any cleaning because I’d be in to do the cleaning on Friday night. That meant that the bathrooms would get filthy during the week, and the workers would just keep using a filthy bathroom. Dishes would pile up in the kitchen and they’d just wait for me to do them on Friday night. Coffee would get spilled on desks. Bins under desks would get smelly as food rotted in them. Now I appreciated my job cleaning the offices, but all of that must have made for a fairly nasty working environment, which is why I think it’s good for everyone to do a little bit of cleaning, even if it isn’t their job. It means we have a better space to inhabit. G.K. Chesterton says that places become beautiful when we all take care for them and treat them with love.