Provincial's Reflection

Living with uncertainty

There has been an atmosphere of uncertainty throughout our society since the onset of COVID-19. Fr Brian McCoy SJ reflects on how we can manage this uncertainty with love, company and compassion.

There has been an atmosphere of uncertainty throughout our society since the onset of COVID-19. Fr Brian McCoy SJ reflects on how we can manage this uncertainty with love, company and compassion. Full transcript below the video. 

We’re living in a time of uncertainty.

We hear many times the use of that word, uncertainty, and the uncertainties are named. Sometimes they’re around our inability to cross borders, uncertainties as to where COVID-19 is leading us in Australia, uncertainties as to where things that we enjoy like football might open up, or whether some of us can go back to work, whether we can go on holidays as we used to. Many uncertainties.

There are even more serious uncertainties for young people finishing Year 12 this year, uncertainties for people awaiting serious operations and medical procedures, uncertainties as to unemployment.

And there’s even more critical uncertainties in the world around many countries coping with COVID-19, and some with many people seeking refuge and asylum seekers. And within our own country Australia, a large number of those who have sought asylum uncertain as to when we will ever warmly accept them and care for them.

So this word uncertainty really captures much of where many of us are in Australia at this time, and our cousins in New Zealand, as well.

I draw inspiration from one particular person at this time. A remarkable young woman. This young woman is married to a very good friend of mine in North Queensland. At the age of 24 she was found to have breast cancer. And then three years later the breast cancer secondaries returned. And so for the last 10 years, she has undergone an incredible amount of therapies, operations, treatments, dealing with the uncertainty of the cancer that has spread throughout the body. And recently she was in hospital having a brain cancer removed. She has lived incredibly courageously with uncertainties over these last 13 years.

How does she do it? Well she draws on the love of her two young children, and the love she has for them. She draws on the love of her partner, and his love and support and care for her. And the great support she has in her own family and friends.

But it’s more than that.

She refuses to say she’s fighting or battling cancer – she’s living with it. And she’s living with the uncertainties and the vulnerabilities and the anxieties that she and others carry with this cancer. And this, incredibly, does not stop does not stop her reaching out to others as well. So every year on Mother’s Day she gathers her friends to step out to walk and raise money for others with breast cancer – Pink Feet, I think it’s called.

But here’s a young, married woman with children, living and having lived with uncertainties much greater than many of us can imagine. And yet with hope, and with love, and drawing on hope and love as she continues to live in this world.

So my encouragement to all of you is that yes, we name uncertainties for what they are and who they are, and where they are. And in those uncertainties we experience vulnerability, sometimes fear and anxiety. But there is also a gift. In these times, there’s my friend who inspires me, and many others, to look to those we love, to receive that love from others, and to offer our love for those in need as well.

We can find life, the grace of love, and even the presence of our Creator, the giver of life, in all these uncertainties.

I wish you well.

Fr Brian F McCoy SJ, Provincial

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