One of the pleasures of having led a reasonably long life is that of bearing witness to the extraordinary twists and turns of human affairs as they work themselves out on the world stage and in the more intimate theatre of the lives of individuals with whom one is acquainted. Who would have thought the Iron Curtain would have been flimsy enough to have been torn down in my lifetime? - not I as a youngster, and that happened yonks ago now. Kids look back on the very notion of a Cold War as an historical curiosity whereas I grew up with it as a seeming historical necessity.
This morning we had a talk given by a lady who was one of the unfortunate Boat People, escaping Vietnam for a sometimes, indeed often, unaccepting world. She was four years old when her family were picked up by a Norwegian ship, an oil tanker, I think. They were part of a group of over eighty souls who had set out on a rickety vessel built for about ten people, and fortunate to be saved.
And now she and her family - three boys of her own - are thriving in Australia, and paying on, in her words, the compassion and generosity shown to them in terms of their own efforts to improve the lives of the less fortunate with whom they come in contact. Listening to her and seeing the pictures of the refugee boat that brought her and her kin, so fortunately, to a new life I was reminded of the hopelessness I felt on seeing those images of the seemingly lost, back when the crisis was a grim reality.
And so I've learned to hope simply because hope is as real as the lived reality of all those lives that so easily might never have been.