Ed Said - Grass always greener on the other side
Human nature means we are doomed to repeat mistakes and failures of the past, no matter how much we determine not to. We just can’t help ourselves. As the saying goes, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And if the lessons from what the country has had to endure over the last few months haven’t been learned yet, then we are heading for trouble.
The national media has been quick to jump all over quarantine absconders and other compassionate leave cock-ups over the last week, and rightly so. It is serving as a lesson to everyone just how easy it is to forget the effort and sacrifice that has gone in to getting New Zealand into the enviable post-Covid position that it enjoys today.
But it hasn’t taken long for human nature to reveal its true self.
We are blessed in this country, so a biblical parallel comes to mind.
Like the Israelites enslaved by the Egyptians in the book of Exodus, we have been led out of the bondage of fear and uncertainty that was lockdown and the coronavirus and, navigating our way somewhat aimlessly through an economic and social wilderness, trusted the calling of our leader.
Now, that wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that, following the joy and celebration of a level one emancipation, it didn’t take long for the crowd to grow weary, restless, hungry, disillusioned. And like the Israelites, the realisation New Zealanders had been averted from the plague that was a deadly virus, and were heading towards a veritable ‘promised land’, is quickly forgotten.
It was just a matter of weeks after leaving Egypt when the Israelites started complaining to Moses and Aaron, saying it would have been better to be back where they were, in Egypt, or dead, than be wandering in the desert hungry. Their leader provides a food and water subsidy, loaves of bread fall from heaven.
But the best leadership, a good feed, and rescue from a horrible fate still couldn’t keep the people happy. Many New Zealanders are the same. Rather than appreciate their good health first and the freedom of the Garden of Eden that is this sacred country, many are already wailing about recession, unemployment, and the meaning of economic data. When will people realise that financial wellbeing is of little significance if you’re not around to enjoy it? Are we that short-sighted and materialistic? Not that long ago it was toilet paper, a decent flat white, and a haircut that were our basic needs. How quickly human nature is to moneterise our standing in society.
When Moses kickstarted his donkey and disappeared up Mt Sinai to download the Ten Commandments, the Isralites defied orders, just did their own thing, making and worshipping a golden calf. No sooner is New Zealand led to the edge of the promised land by Jacinda Ardern than Todd Muller appears as a modern day false god, an unnecessary distraction when the eyes and minds of a nation need to be firmly fixed on the one person who has delivered so much already, especially when there is still work to do.
In this journey, however long, we have to take the good with the bad. We need faith, patience and sacrifice, because the trials and tribulations aren’t over yet. We forget the world is going to hell in a handcart (not a biblical phrase). Last week Brazil had it’s worst single day of coronavirus deaths yet: 1300. We are in heaven by comparison. Let’s keep it that way.