Easter Reflections from Padre Gary Stone

When I started to write this reflection things were looking pretty grim in the veteran community and on top of that it was raining cats and dogs, and  our lives continued to be affected by Covid. 

With the angst that has come with the Brereton review,  lengthy delays in DVA being able to process compensation claims,  and a suicide rate among veterans that has doubled , its understandable that some veterans could be feeling downhearted at this time. 

But without wanting to deny the difficulties individuals may be facing,  I choose to have hope for the future and gratefulness for the many things that are still going well. 

After almost 2 weeks of torrential rain on my property at Mount Tamborine I woke this morning to the sun shining brightly on our land and as I went out for my first walk for some time and enjoyed the sun’s rays,  I reflected that actually the sun has been shining all through this dark period,  and it was just that I couldn’t see it because of the dark clouds in between us . Those clouds now seem to have passed, and my fields, plants and fruit trees are brimming with new life. 

Our lives seem to follow a similar pattern to nature.  There are times of sunshine and  joy, drought and then flooding rains,  and then sunshine once again. All along,  life keeps happening, and good things are happening. 

I am mindful that in so many places veterans are going quietly about helping other veterans. Despite the Covid , our Veterans Care association has been able to adapt to run well-being programs on the Gold Coast,  until we can return to taking veterans back to Timor-Leste.  Positive developments have resulted from the creation of the National Commission for preventing veteran suicide and a Royal Commission into past failures will hopefully address systemic issues that can improve the lot of veterans . Here in Queensland we are looking forward to getting  together and marching again on Anzac Day. 

Before  then we will celebrate Easter.  It is a foundational story of good times and bad.  Jesus came to preach a message of compassion, forgiveness  and healing . He was received well by some, and crucified by others. Wonderfully in response to his suffering and dying ,  others came together to continue his work of healing and compassion for those in need . That continues into this  day, especially  through formal and informal  Veterans Groups , especially in RAR unit associations . 

As I grow older I come to a greater acceptance that a normal life has many seasons – that difficult times can be pre-cursors to new life. Of course I believe that God is real and is watching over us and that nothing can separate us from the love of God and others, no matter what season of life you are experiencing now. I’d encourage you to remember that the sun and the Son are always shining over you, and when things are difficult, remember this too will pass,  and the good times will return. 

May God bless you all, 

Your Padre , Gary Stone

Comments

  1. Russell Linwood says

    Well written column Gary. Agree your sentiments. Proud to be a classmate, you continue to inspire us.