Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The View From the Gallery

I was reminded of an important truth yesterday afternoon during Question Period. The questions addressed the usual themes of Education, Health Care, Children, Transportation and the sale of BC Rail. Both the questions and answers were accompanied by the usual thumping of desks and heckling. Both sides recognize that it's not called 'Answer Period' and so the questions and general avoidance of anwers is simply understood as part of the normal routine.

What made yesterday unique was the man who came in and sat down beside me. During one series of questions and answers about the very sad situation of a developmentally challenged young man, he became quite emotional and began to weep. It wasn't hard to see that he was somehow very closely connected to the situation and that the concern and frustration involved was taking it's toll on him. I was (and still am...) moved for this man and the situation. He left before I could speak with him or pray with him, but I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about him and praying for him and the people involved.

I don't think it's possible to craft the perfect policy that will ensure that no one falls through the cracks or finds themselves outside the guidelines that provide access to benefits. We are dealing with people and the variables are endless. At the same time, we (our society) must care for the weak, challenged and struggling among us.

COMPASSION rather than SMUGNESS over policy successes or political ideology needs to become what matters most. My prayer for members on both sides of the house is that their commitment to public service would extend to a commitment to humility. It seems to me that the price for admitting a policy or strategic mistake needs to be something less than a cry for a ministerial resignation.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NIV

This situation underlines the incredible challenge involved in leading our province. Those who serve as elected leaders need wisdom, courage,strength, and humility as they make the key decisions that affect millions of people on a daily basis. They need our prayer support as they do their best to serve their constituents.

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