31 December 2021

Love is an action, not a feeling, says Emma Davidson MLA

| Emma Davidson MLA
Join the conversation
Emma Davidson MLA

Emma Davidson MLA has a lot of love in her heart. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The end of one year and the start of a new one should be a time of reflection. The irony is that it coincides with high levels of activity as we try to end the year with no unfinished business and celebrate the festive season with our friends and family.

For me, it is very worthwhile taking time out from what feels like endless shopping, gatherings and feasting to consider how I feel about the year that was and where my focus needs to be for the next year.

What a year it has been for all Canberrans.

It has been unpredictable, and at times it felt impossible, but we have reached the end of 2021 in a better position than any of us could have expected because we did it together.

We have the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate of any city in the world; our economy is beginning to recover; and we have seen new and expanded health and social services to better help those people most in need.

The thing that has helped us to collectively achieve all of this is love.

To go through the difficulties of COVID-19 lockdown, getting tested and vaccinated, volunteering in food relief, working from home while also homeschooling kids, and being there for friends or neighbours, has been a year-long series of acts of love.

We have put the needs of others first, and recognised there are times we need do something physically or emotionally uncomfortable for future good.

Love is an active practice – it recognises complexity and requires questioning binary constructs of what is right or wrong.

READ ALSO Light and bright in Wright: suburban Christmas display bringing joy to local community

When seeking to support someone, love requires that we look at the whole individual and offer what is most useful to them – not follow unbending rules about what we should do.

It has been so affirming to see this in action in 2021, with people asking each other, “What do you need?” or “How can I help?” rather than making assumptions. It allows us to see the intersection of culture, gender, socioeconomic, physical or mental ability, and other aspects of identity.

In some ways, life is easier when we can work from assumptions about how people think or behave. Or that something is fundamentally right or wrong, with no exceptions. But it’s not true, and facing up to the reality that people and life are complex is a difficult way to be in the world.

It can leave us feeling unmoored, looking for something to anchor to.

The thing to hold onto is love.

Our community has faced a lot during the past two years, from natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic pressures. People have lost businesses, homes and relationships. Lives have been lost.

Our house is on fire and what we must save from it, first and always, is love.

It is the foundation of a community which acts in the best interests of one another for the common cause of a better, happier and healthier tomorrow.

Much of what we see in our culture, especially at this time of year, encourages us to try to be more wealthy, happy, and comfortable, as if that will negate whatever pain or difficulties we have faced during the past 12 months. As if those who are worthy are the most free from suffering. We see this in the overabundance of food, alcohol, retail spending and putting on a happy face at parties.

What is needed in the face of the most difficult challenges is a willingness to go to any length to forgive others, to close gaps and to restore community.

To believe in love is to have deep faith in the future. It is knowing that acceptance of discomfort or suffering in this moment is part of a redemptive process towards a more just and harmonious future. It is a feeling of connection to each other, and to the values we all share, and a celebration of each other as individuals.

None of us knows what the future holds. But if we approach it with love in our hearts, for ourselves as well as for others, I know we will grow stronger as a community.

Emma Davidson is the ACT Greens MLA for Murrumbidgee, and ACT Minister responsible for Community Recovery and Emergency Relief.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Disappointed that Emma has not stood up for residents in the Molonglo Valley; Weston Creek or Woden. She has been happy to take her ministerial salary without appreciating that she is also a local member and has responsibilities for ensuring the delivery of services in the south. While she has sat on her hands, Labor has been allowed to wreck these areas. Time for her to go and to be replaced by an active independent who actually cares for the area – and not beholden to some strange ideology.

Capital Retro11:25 am 31 Dec 21

God bless you, Emma.

“We have put the needs of others first” Coming from a politician, that hurt my ribs from laughing

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.