Endings are a good opportunity for reflection aren’t they? The Ignatians make a practise of taking time to reflect on the whole day each evening, but even those of us who are less disciplined tend to get reflective at the end of the year. It probably helps that there’s often a bit of time of away from work between Christmas and New Year.
We also tend to get reflective at the end of someone’s life, and as many have stated, it seems like so many people have been dying this year. I don’t think that this is because 2016 has been a particularly bad year, but more about our historical relationship with the mass media. It was in the 1950s that television became the dominant form of media, making it so easy to become familiar with the faces of celebrity. My guess is that 2017 may not be much different, as celebrities from the second half of the 20th Century continue to pass away. I wonder whether we will continue to hear about every public figure that passes away, but I also wonder whether we might take these occassions as opportunties for reflection?
When David Bowie passed away earlier in the year we invited a couple of neighbours around and watched a DVD of one of his concerts to reminisce about the impact his songs and person had made on us. I wonder whether we might take each news of death as an opportunity to reflect on our own lives, and how we want to spend them? The truth is we never know which will be our last day.
The other question I have is about whether we are attentive to the deaths of so many less celebrated people? Over the Christmas break another asylum seeker, Faysal Ahmed, has died while illegally detained by the Australian government on Manus Island. Others will die if this policy doesn’t change, so we need to be telling our federal MPs that we are attentive to these deaths and the ill treatment of asylum seekers generally.