My mother believed in the goodness of people. She worked hard to instill this in her children. One of her favourite paraphrases was to remind us even Anne Frank, “that poor girl”, had purported to say there was “a kernel of goodness” in everyone. If we had a gripe about one of our peers, my mother would insist we interact with them to see if the wrong could be put right. Years later I read Michelle Obama urged people, “when they go low, we go higher”. Worlds and generations apart, these women, expressed a sentiment which is identical.
I grew up to be an adult who believed in this. To some extent, I still do. Although I confess, the dissonance I feel has diminished this somewhat.
In the past few weeks I’ve learned one can walk into an embassy and disappear. The thought of this fills me with revulsion and horror. The aftermath, even more so.
I watched in disbelief as a woman’s powerful testimony of her violation can be ridiculed and mocked in exchange for derisive laughter and applause.
I’ve read professionals who have voiced their concerns about refugees and asylum seekers, have had their services, vital services, discontinued.
The mental health, social development and attachment trajectory of children ‘in custody’, is not a priority for those in power.
World leaders may be rich, but they can be bought cheaply.
In my teens and on my own I had assumed everyone I meet “has a kernel of goodness”. I found out not so. I resented my mother’s views on life and people. I thought she had lied to us.
It has taken years to learn how to be discerning, but the default of seeing good first, lets me down more often than not.
This morning I looked at a photograph of a paperbark tree, one of many that overhang the walkway at Big Swamp. I always walk through that area quickly. Although beautiful, it is eerie and like an nightmare from a children’s story book. I did a double take today. That was no monster. It is bark splitting open at the seam, beautifully. It is this revelation that makes it a paperbark tree.
Similarly, there is a certain beauty in the revelation and realisation, my mother was a fabulist. She taught us about morality.
Until next time
a dawn bird