By CHRIS DUFF*
THE Lions Club exists to serve and build community. But how we go about this task is fundamental. If it’s all ‘go, go, go’; and no ‘slow, slow, slow’; we will all come a cropper.
In our fast-paced world, we desperately need time to pause, reflect, recharge and refresh. When we don’t do this well, we see the results in our own lives and the impact it has in a wider sense in our communities. We have increased anxiety, stress, addiction, isolation and burnout.
Recently I had a conversation about just this sort of helter-skelter life we share in modern (or postmodern) Australia. I was working on a task with the Brighton Lions president, Aaron De la Torre, building a shed for the Lions barbecue trailer.
As we worked together, we both acknowledged that Lions seeks to serve, but to do so in joy, and at the level each member can manage. Family and our jobs come first, and we aim to never overload each other as we go about sharing. This is part of a well-balanced life.
But a well-balanced life is about more than just making sure we don’t do too much. We also need to be intentional about creating time and finding opportunities for relaxed gatherings and social interaction.
So, in the Brighton Lions Club, we do work at serving our community, but we are also growing in understanding of the need to support one another, and to provide times of laidback get-togethers and communal spaces. This allows us to grow closer as people and friends, and increases the occasions to explore each other’s world views, histories, and current life circumstances.
Personally, I understand these community dynamics well after 20+ years as a church minister. The small church I am currently starting has similar goals to Lions. I know how very important it is to include all members in the journey we are walking. To try not to leave anyone behind, and to move at the pace of the slowest follower, not to rush ahead while others flounder behind.
We can get so caught up in our own lives, so consumed by our own little worlds, so convinced that our way of thinking is right, so committed to ‘the cause’, and so out of touch with deep human emotional and spiritual needs; that we end up having gone rapidly in what we have been doing, but find we are totally alone when we reach the end goal! And that’s not much good for anyone.
So, it might be helpful for us all – Lions and non-Lions – to reflect on the wisdom of this old African proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
*Rev Chris Duff is a Brighton Lions board member