Changing of the Guard
Life is a funny thing. We take it for granted, mostly. We zoom around, dotting all the i’s and crossing most of the t’s, getting things done. And then we’re done. John Lennon is reported to have said, “Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.” And I guess that sounds about right.
Often, it’s only when we are faced with death, that we even stop to consider life.
I heard a story this week, that was both the best and worst tale from this election. It was about a woman, my age, who took her ailing father and her eighteen year old son to the polling station.
It was her son’s first opportunity to vote, the first time he would have a say in who runs this country, and the choices they will make for us, with the money and power we bestow on them. For me, voting is wonderful exercise in trust and collectivism. We place some numbers in some boxes, and believe those scratchings will translate into a better life for ourselves and our community. I can still remember the pride and sense of responsibility I felt the first time I folded those green and white pages and tapped them into the oversized cardboard box. Turning eighteen is one thing, but deciding who will govern this big-skied land, well that’s becoming an adult. I like to imagine he was a little nervous, this young man, realising the magnitude of what he was now allowed to do. He might have read the instructions once, and then once again, ensuring his vote counted for something bigger than himself. He might have looked at his Mum and smiled, as he posted his papers.
I’m sure she looked at her son with new eyes that day. His first vote. Her boy was grown.
And then it was time for her father to vote. I imagine he shuffled over to the little booth. He might have needed a bit of help to steady himself. She might have held his shaking hand a little, lest he lean on the house-of-cards booth, and make it all fall down. His eyes were probably bright with the intelligence that resides within him, but there might have been a little cloud or two dimming the lucidity. The cancer can do that. He might have looked at the paper for quite awhile, trying to make sense of all the names, and all the people. He might have had a flash of remembrance, and voted for Clive because he once knew a good bloke from work called Clive. Or perhaps he remembered every person, and every policy, and placed his vote with care, drawing his numbers in the boxes, in a script from years gone by. He might have smiled at his daughter for reassurance, as he posted his papers.
I’m sure she looked at her dad with sad eyes that day. His final vote. Her dad was almost gone.
So come what may from this election day, I know there is a woman who will be forever marked by the process.
She is not busy making other plans. But she is seeing what happens with life. And the changing of the guard.
Are you busy making other plans?
Do you love voting?