When we consider any achievement in life, be it academic, personal, health or career, often we look back at that achievement and consider the sacrifices we chose to make along the way.
Because sacrifice is always a choice, it is something we choose to go without, something we deny, something we pay so as ourselves and often others can enjoy something they did not work for, sometimes did not deserve and yet all enjoy its rewards because of our love and or respect for them.
Many of us in the Cook Islands believe in a Jesus who sacrificed his life so that a fallen world could come to know God in a real and meaningful way, and I know many of us are greatful for our parents or loved ones’ sacrifices, to give us food on the table and a roof over our heads and love in our hearts.
Sacrifice must be understood as something we choose to do for the sake of others, and it costs us, but it is that sense of weighing up the cost and then considering the benefit to ourselves and others and then saying to one’s self, the price is worth it.
There is no sacrifice without the ability to say yes I will, or that the cost is to heavy, and to be able to walk away knowing that you made a choice.
So is it reasonable then, as many of our people, leave the 14 day qurantine of the Edgewater, to say thank you for your sacrfice, when they had little if any choice?
We required it of them to silence a fear of something we all could not see or understand. Their freedom to come home was taken from them by a virus and pandemic not of their making.
Simply by the stroke of a pen and two government decisions, they were caught in a lockdown giving up their freedom to simply come home.
So I want to thank you all for your mana, your strength and resilience even in the face of unkindness. And the joy in knowing that finally you can go home and see those you love again.
All because of an unseen virus – and because in a crisis, fear when weaponised can be a very cruel, dangerous and unifying tool.
So maybe reconsider thanking these people, and the others still waiting to come home or about to enter the Edgewater, not for what they have sacrificed.
Instead thank them for what they have endured, and for the price they have been told to pay. Thank them for their compliance, even though at times it was resisted, and their endurance to accept what was required – so they could simply go home.
Their have been many tears, tears of joy, of reconciliation, of simply enjoying the freedoms of life and hugs, long embraces and reflection.
So to the mamas and papas from Atiu Hall, and the many friends finally at home today, meitaki ranuinui for being strong, for your courage, and your resilience; for your endurance through a very unsure and challenging time that none of us will ever forget.
Kare roa au e ngaropoina ia koe.