Hi David here. The morning was dark, bleak and had not yet broken. Even in the relative warmth of the 6.45am bus to the city you could see all of this weather – bleakness, cold, and not yet broken mourning on the faces of my fellow travelers. It was difficult to see any joy, hope or wonder about to face these people. Why had they bothered to get up and go to work at all?
Plato would say that each of these people are fighting their own battle, and therefore it is our duty to be kind and compassionate to people we meet each day. It would be hard to argue with this. Kindness and compassion go a long way. Being salt and light are also important. It is important to challenge people in what and why they believe in the hopelessness of their own existence. Life is so much more than survival – it is about living. Sure, we all have bad days and feel our inner brokenness – our own decrepitude. This can be done to us by others, or we can do it to ourselves. I think we can do better and we can do better by others.
In Wellington City there is the ‘Wellington Writers’ Walk’. This waterfront walk is set in one of the world’s loveliest urban land-and-seascapes (I’m biased!). It combines a stroll along Wellington’s waterfront with the discovery of sculptural quotations from New Zealand writers – like a series of intriguing pronouncements – often in surprising and unexpected places. The concrete plaques have been designed intentionally. The walk celebrates and commemorates the place of Wellington in these writers’ lives, and their place in the life of Wellington.
The walk currently commemorates nineteen authors, both past and present, including poets, novelists, playwrights and writers of prose. Besides providing recognition to some of New Zealand’s top literary authors, the walk promotes New Zealand literature to a wider public, including tourists and visitors to the capital. International comedian and raconteur Billy Connolly featured it recently in his televised tour of New Zealand.
My favourite sculptural quote is by Patricia Grace, a Wellington writer of novels, short stories, and children’s books.
I love this city, the hills, the harbour the wind that blasts through it. I love the life and pulse and activity, and the warm decrepitude…there’s always an edge here that one must walk which is sharp and precarious, requiring vigilance
If you asked me to describe what I saw on people’s faces in our windy city it would be this warm decrepitude, the walking wounded, people living in their own brokenness. So why are there so many broken-hearted people, and what is our response? Do these people just need to hope a bit more, buy a ladder and just get over themselves, and wait for an answer?
And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see. There will be an answer, let it be
~ The Beetles
I think more than agreement is required. Action is what is required. David in the Psalms had this to say about God and brokenhearted people.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~ Psalm 147:2-4
The challenge and question for us is what is our role in this? What do you think my friend? Here or somewhere this week will your share your story of how you have been or how you hope to be salt and light to these brokenhearted people. You will help others more than you realize by sharing your story.
In this city of Angels
Where hope freely abounds
Do they see the wonder
Are souls lost or found
In this city of the sun
In Southern latitude
Heal the hearts and minds
In their warm decrepitude