Springing forward

Well, did you SPRING forward yesterday? Or did the loss of an hour’s sleep make yesterday morning more of a challenge than it normally would be?
There’s a debate about whether there is much point in changing the clocks in spring and autumn any more, or whether we should simply have summer time all year round… If that guaranteed us actual summer time all year round I would be one of its greatest supporters, although in any normal year here that isn’t a great boon… where summer usually just means that we get slightly warmer rain…
But the lack of sunshine in summer is not the only distinctive about this province. Every time the clocks change I am reminded of the old joke about the passenger plane landing at Aldergrove and the pilot announcing over the PA system, “We have now landed at Belfast International Airport, please set your watches back 300 years.”
We do sadly, have a reputation for being more focused on our past than other places… Whether that past is hundreds of years ago… or the past 40 years or so…
Our past is important… it shapes the present… And knowing our past as a person and as a people is vital if we are to be more than 2 dimensional… The characters in the best dramas and novels always have a back story, whether the audience are aware of it or not. The problem with the narrative of Northern Ireland is that there is so much back story that the script never seems to progress…
We need to know and learn from our past if we, and our children are to have a better future… but currently we seem to be stuck in an infinite loop revisiting the same old stories again and again, with no-one willing to break the cycle and help us move on… And until the next lot of elections are over in May there seems to be little political capital in doing so… Instead we are likely to continue to get the same never decreasing circle of whataboutery…
I long for leaders in the political realm, in wider civic society and in the church who will help us focus our vision firmly on the future; not sweeping the problems of the past under a psychological carpet, but seeking to learn from them and shaping a place where we may embrace each other and whatever lies ahead, with hope…
The Psalmist said
a future awaits those who seek peace

I believe it works the other way too, that peace, real peace, not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of reliable hope and genuine justice, awaits those who seek the future…
Are we just going to fall back into familiar patterns of enmity?
Or spring forward into a hope filled future?
(This was what I finally settled on as a piece for Good Morning Ulster's Thought for the Day at 6.55 and 7.55am... it should be available on iplayer for th enext 7 days for those who would like to hear my dulcet tones... I will be returning to some of the ideas in yesterday and today's pieces over the next couple of days... I'm back in the groove...)


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