The children went back to school today after the longest Easter holidays ever – with two bank holidays thrown in for good measure. But as I struggle to get back into a routine I am not helped by the fact that last weekend was one of the weirdest ever. If you were a visitor from outer space who arrived on Earth late last week, you would have been gobsmacked at just how ‘uncivilized’ and peculiar life on earth really is.
The weekend began with the best of stories – love – with the marriage of the beautiful girl, Catherine Middleton to her Prince Charming. Her new husband, William is of course the son of the late Princess Diana – one of the most famous and most loved women on the planet in the 20th century. The spectacle of the Royal Wedding lifted hearts and focused our attention on the human need for love and connection. It also perhaps has brought some healing to the house of Windsor who for the last few decades seems to have been wracked by scandal and divorce and rifts. Friday was the best of days... we the world watched Britain do what it does best – pageantry and ceremony and we shared, at a distance, the celebration and hope that a good wedding should evoke.
Saturday was uneventful and was followed by Sunday and the beatification of Pope John Paul II. How to explain this concept to our visitor from Outer Space? I kind of doubt that God holds with the making of saints. I feel fairly sure that hierarchies are very much a human idea and dare I say it, a male one at that, even if it is a hierarchy of goodness. I don’t remember Jesus scoring the disciples on their ‘goodness’. But back to our friend from outer space - even if we could explain the concept of sainthood, venerating a vial of blood might just cause problems. As for retrieving his 6 year’s dead body to bring it to the church again – what’s that about? Can we also explain the simple wooden coffin amid all the priceless splendour of the Vatican? What’s the message there? The men who put this ‘show’ together are all the most ardent followers of Jesus Christ, apparently. Have they forgotten that he was a radical free thinker who lived in a humble life in Israel 2,000 years ago? Does anyone really think he would be happy with the goings on in Rome – at any time, never mind last weekend? Anyway that was Sunday!
Roll on Bank Holiday Monday and we all awake to the news that US Special Forces have, after 10 years of searching, finally tracked down, killed and buried Osama Bin Laden. All this happened in the space of a few hours. The internet goes wild with speculation and the chatter on Twitter reaches a new high as word spreads. The talk is of Navy Seals, Black Hawk Helicopters and photos of the US Administration watching live the events unfolding in a hereto unknown town called Abbotabad in Pakistan. I can understand the urge for New York City to celebrate but nevertheless scenes we saw of chanting and flag waving are something we are far more used to seeing from Middle East. But more than anything else I was struck by one of those pictures from the ‘situation room’ in the White House. Gathering around, in an informal group were the men of the American Administration all watching the live events from Abbotabad. In the centre of the picture was Hilary Clinton, the only woman and the only person present registering shock and horror. Her hand is clasped over her mouth and her eyes wide open. At times like this I really do wish that the Feminist Movement had really changed the world of politics and that women were in charge of a different way of doing things. And I am reminded of a quotation of Ghandi “an eye for an eye, renders the whole world blind.”
Actually never mind our friend from Outer Space... I am punch drunk from the events of this weekend. I suddenly feel as if I am not of this planet... after the uplift from watching and enjoying the Royal Wedding, the weirdness of the fast tracked beatification of Pope John Paul II with vials of blood and retrieval of his dead body and then the killing of Osama Bin Laden I am feeling very strangely alien on this planet I call home.