Charles Dickens speaks some words from his time to ours. They make sense.
Famous words were spoken by the English author, Charles Dickens in 1859. They have stuck with me over the years... They strike me now.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” (Charles Dickens, Take of Two Cities)
Seems to me that this is always how life is - best and worst always together, or at least not very far apart.
No different this year. It has been a long journey of many short sharp bursts between the two, like a roller coaster dipping down and soring up over and over again. Pretty exhausting. Pretty exhilarating in some ways too.
The dip comes and you spring into action. Health workers, public servants, Police, Politicians, educators, age care facility managers and staff, church leaders and staff.... Like a SWAT team attending an emergency.
Then some soaring out of the latest dip. Heading for blue skies and personal freedoms; pressure off. A glimpse of what used to be.
And then it all starts again with the latest cluster danger.
Great wisdom and really stupid behaviour and words - all at the same time.
People with deepening faith in the presence and plan of God and plenty given one more reason to dismiss that belief.
Light for us in the southern hemisphere summer and darkness for fellow humans in the norther winter. Will it reverse come our winter? We enjoy our 'Spring of hope" and hope we don't have to go through a 'winter of despair".
Dickens goes on...
"....we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only".
Dicken's really got the conflict we know. You can only compare the opposing things, not resolve them.
For him, this conflict was at one level the observation of life in his time that had radical opposites between France and UK during the French Revolution.
But under that it tells of just life in general all the time for all of us. He points out the major conflict between family and love, hatred and oppression, good and evil, light and darkness, and wisdom and folly that we all experience in varying degrees.
As he begins his famous "Tale of Two Cities" (Paris and London) he starts with a vision of life in which our human prosperity does not automatically cancel out human despair.
Living in a wealthy country of Australia, and seeing the world's most wealthy country (the USA) being undone by a pandemic certainly bears this reality out.
I wonder where you go in all of this. You could just become a cynic. Just dismiss it all and meaningless. You could become very competitive - get on with looking after yourself because no one else will.
I reckon there is another place to go and it not me or you. There is a Holy Other. I go to the presence and plan of this One. Where do you go?