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Marc My Words: Tis The Season To Reflect

Marc My Words.
From Marc Alexander MP. 19 December 2003
United Future NZ-Christchurch Supplement
'Tis the season to reflect .

I always think of this season as a good time for reflection. Another year is about to bid us a fond farewell. It's like a page of history still wet with ink and about to be put on the shelf, while a blank chapter readies itself to be written. I imagine that most people will look back over the past year with a mixture of happiness and regret, making a list of successes and failures; looking back and looking forward.

Most of us proceed through life with an understandably myopic view.measuring events by their impact on our loved ones and ourselves. But one thing the Christmas period gives us the opportunity for, is a momentary respite to celebrate the incredible gift of life and the ensuing responsibility we have in sharing that gift with others.

While each of us has pursued the last year with a mix of enthusiasm, anger, compassion and the amalgam of all the colours of our emotions, we should be aware that at times we have not done all we could have done, or we have acted against our better judgement. It is often those we care about most who wear those frailties of ours. Sometimes we should have taken the time to cool down and adopted a more reasonable look at things.

Sadly, we live in a country where there are great disparities. We don't all have the same opportunities to be what we are capable of. But of all of these, the lack of safety of our loved ones is truly the most tragic. I find it hard to think of the past year without thinking of Coral-Ellen Burrows. Although the hand of responsibility ultimately lies with her killer, there is blame for all of us because collectively we have allowed a social landscape to grow, seemingly incapable of dealing with violence.

It is not just a truism that the strength of our country lies within our homes. In ways large and small, each one of us contributes to the character of our community. While it is convenient to look to government or local authorities to fix up our problems 'out there', it is we who must individually and purposefully meet the challenge to make fairness and justice a reality. Very often it boils down to the simplicity of truth. Justice is 'truth in action'.

My hope is not to offer a sanctimonious end of year Christmas message but rather, a heartfelt evaluation of my own achievements and failures over the last year. I hope others will do the same. Self-reflection can often be an espousal of our vanities but sometimes they point in the direction of doing things better. Someone much cleverer than I once said that 'You should never preach what you practice until you can practice what you preach'. I'm still trying.

I thank everyone who has helped me this year and look forward to our paths crossing again soon. I also look forward to all the new faces it will be my privilege to meet next year. With my incredibly supportive and tolerant Christchurch office team of Nigel and Rose, Angelika and I extend our very best wishes for a safe, happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!


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