Yesterday, I woke up to a discussion about the poll findings that one in two Australians want a ban on Muslim immigration. Later in the day I stumbled across this podcast of Dr Rachael Kohn interviewing Irish poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama, which offered me a way of thinking about it.
He read one of his poems, which contained the line
Who has taught us to fear?
A very good question.
Further into the interview, talking about differences in language, he said, ‘pain is never exhausted by language’ and invited his hearers to a stance of curiosity over issues of pain.
This word, ‘curiosity’, in Irish includes the idea of ‘wonder watch’. Wonder watch first puts me in mind of wonderful things – a magnificent sunrise/set, glorious colour, but Ó Tuama posed the question,
How can we observe pain and argument with wonder?
He called us to a spirituality that respects pain.
Thinking about this interview afterwards, I found myself composing my own Wonder Watch. What are the things that stir the snake-like coil of fear in me? What causes fear to stir, raise its head, prepare to strike?
What stirs the fear in you?
Let us seek to observe our fear with wonder and maintain a Wonder Watch in the face of it.