By Richard Ho Lung
Divorce, which is so traumatic to the children, must not be taken lightly. Divorce does deeply affect both man and woman, but it also splinters the mind and emotions of the children. More likely than not, it creates instability and lack of trust for the male or father figure. (Women are the preferred partner who have charge of the children).
In common-law unions, the same pertains to man and woman, and in a more terrible way, the children. in common-law marriage, so romanticised in Jamaican life, all is in a state of disintegration. After the man runs off with other women, and the women seek security and some affection from other men, children from different parents are born and live under one roof, without any permanent parenting from a stable couple.
Aside from this, there is the instability in jobs and housing, and no duty to religion. There's also instability in relationships between friends, parents and children, and business partners. Never before has there been so much confusion. Writers call it an age of uncertainty, but I call it an age of infidelity.
People, in general, are not faithful to one another. There is constant change and no permanence. People are uncommitted to one another and to anything. Nobody wants to be tied down - whether to community, to God, or to a permanent partner in life.
There is no still point, no external value or truth. As the philosopher Herodotus says, "Everything is change." Nothing lasts - not truth, not law, not goodness, not kindness, not friendship.
Is this the world we want? It is the world we have created. We have free will. We have a God - a permanent God - who has spoken the eternal word, with laws beautiful beyond telling. The laws are a lamp for our feet - for obeying His laws leads to happiness, peace of mind and a full meaningful life; disobeying Him leads to confusion and, finally, perdition. It's a case of short-term pleasure and long-term suffering.
Faith, faithfulness, loyalty, and everlasting peace will yield much happiness for oneself and for others. There are crosses in life; people are our crosses - our husbands, wives, children, friends, jobs, workers, bosses. Old age is a cross, and so, too, are our duties. But we must bear them on our shoulders responsibly. If we escape, it is for a time, and then the crosses return.
Our community, our country, the difficulties of today's life in Jamaica are our cross. Every day our brothers at Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) carry the cross of hundreds of homeless and destitute who are not our family members but become our responsibility because of Christ. We do this cheerfully and joyfully in the name of our Lord, and out of love for Jamaica and the poorest of people who cannot help themselves. MOP has been doing this for 32 years, not only for Jamaicans, but for thousands of poor throughout the world.
Many times, the poor are forgotten and cast out by their own family members. They are unfaithful to their own. What are we to do but to take them in? We are troubled by the lack of faithfulness that so many Jamaicans have towards one another.
I am anguished by the lack of loyalty and perseverance in so many relationships between people in every sector of society. It takes courage to love and respect each other despite our weaknesses and sins.
Christ is most faithful to all of us sinners. We sin against one another, but we must be faithful to one another, no matter how we are hurt and forgotten. Faithfulness will win the victory in our struggle towards maturity, personally as well as nationally.
Thank God for the cross of Christ which gives us strength.
Fr Richard Ho Lung is founder of the Missionaries of the Poor. Email feedback to email@example.com.