Address by Caitlin Kensey Scott, Chaplain with Uniting Resilient Families
When I was younger I wondered about what God could see, if She was there. I decided that if there was a great, just, and loving heart that knit the universe together. That heart would hear every untold story, see every silent suffering, yearn with every unspoken wish, and stand as a companion to each of the lonely moments of the human soul. The earth has a far greater record than we, and in it are a thousand fires of remembrance and awakening. The Gumatj people of the Northern Territory look towards the night sky and see their ancestors speaking in the shooting stars overhead- holding together the dawn to the day, holding them to their place in the land, holding them.
I still believe as when I was a child, but now I know that these eyes are not far from us, in some distant place. We have been given the gift of sight too.
Today we are here to say that we are the eyes that see, we are the ones that wish with, and witness, and wear our griefs like bold and gentle banners for the ones we lost but continue to love.
It has been exhilarating and hopeful to see that the conversation around drug use and how we as society should address it, gain greater traction in the recent year. Through campaigns, political conversations, the work of many different disciplines coming together. More voices have been added to query, “does it have to be this way?” We want today to pause and recognise how many have held and shared their stories, losses, and hopes, even when the conversation was not as popular or in the public eye. We recognise their fortitude and forbearance. We thank them that they would not let this fire go out.
How do we gather strength for the journey, when some of the ones we travelled with have fallen behind? It is in the returning again each year, or in one moment of the day, to say the names and to tell the stories. This is what the Gumatj people believe and what we also believe. These losses tie us to the past, they tie us to the future, and they tie us to each other. They tie us to the life of strangers. We tell our own stories only to find that it is exactly what a very lost someone needs to hear. It may be what a very lost society needs to hear.
It is good that we are here this day. And that we return whenever we can. To gain strength from our past, to commit to walking together into the future, and to reflect on the preciousness of life, given to us to protect.
29th October, 2018