Stability. It’s become the watch word of the current economic and political crisis.
We’ve had the whole Brexit palaver. The pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Energy and cost of living crises. Inflation and strikes on a level not seen since the 70s. The death of the Queen. Economic turmoil from the major-bodget… and another Prime Minister. The fault-hunters are finding rich-pickings too. Society has changed from using language to, as someone put it, langrage.
Years of instability. Years of change. And that’s without the personal times of difficulty encountered by many of us in our own lives.
Several people have commented that the title of one of my new books, Finding Stability in Times of Change is very apposite. But, being the good former public servant that I am, I feel the need to hide behind a quote by a fictitious politician: ‘You may think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.’ (But I agree all the same…)
Stability is a topic I have written about on many occasions – indeed, the very first post carries (almost) the same title as the book. Stability is one of the three ground rules of Benedictine spirituality. For the monk or nun it is worked out by remaining in the same monastic community for life. For those of us living outside such places, stability can be found in the outworking of our faith and trust in God in day to day living.
Finding stability in times of change and uncertainty is crucial. I’ve written recently about having long Covid in the form of fatigue. It’s been a time of instability. Of being buffeted about. Yes, there is a familiarity in having my ‘friend’ here again but also difficulty. Things are improving but the storm continues.
In another context, I remember a few years ago talking with work colleagues about how it was all very well (and very good) helping people to find a job or start training or voluntary work but the actual change involved in doing so could be very destabilising. If those who came to us for help didn’t receive support in coping with such change, things may well fall apart before they’d even started.
The cost of food, energy, mortgages and other essential elements of life are major factors in the current storm. Covid infections are rising again and flu is becoming more common. These are not easy times.
The winds of change and instability are ever present in our lives – whether we like it or not. Like the disciples on the lake, even with Jesus in the boat, we cannot stop the wind. But there are ways of finding calmer waters, finding stability in times of change, and it is those which we are to be seeking, nurturing and living with.
In this country at least it’s very rare for someone to be completely blown off their feet by the wind – and yet often the winds of life buffet and move us from place to place, perhaps without even realising it.
We can’t stop the wind but we can control where we are blown, more than perhaps we realise and certainly more than most of us believe.