Recently the Australian and international community was captivated by events surrounding the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam Championship held in Melbourne.
There was firstly the whole visa fiasco surrounding the eligibility of Novak Djokovic to enter Australia to compete in the championship.
There was the emergence of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios as crowd heroes by winning the men’s doubles championship. The tenacity of Rafael Nadal to endure an epic 5 set match to win a record 21st Grand Slam title. But more poignantly we were captivated by Ash Barty, who achieved what no other Australian has been able to do for the past 43 years, that being winning an Australian Open Championship.
Listening to a commentary about Ash Barty and her achievement, it was observed that Ash epitomises three key attributes: Humility, Appreciation and Compassion
It was also stated that for her, success was not merely the result of her achievement it was the result of her mindset.
On thinking further about this, I drew many parallels of Ash Barty’s approach to life, her focus towards playing tennis and her ultimate success, to that of the COVID situation we as Australian and also the global community are experiencing at this time.
There are moments where I feel almost overwhelmed by the enormity of the whole COVID situation that we are living through. The insurmountable number of things that need to be known, considered and attended to in order to feel a sense of ‘control’ over this dreadful pandemic. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
For one thing, this whole COVID situation is way beyond my or for that fact anyone’s control and capacity, so I need to take on a different perspective, a different mindset. To prevail through all of this it is going to be much more about being kind to ourselves and also attentive to the needs of other people to achieve desired outcomes rather than merely executing a clinical heartless approach. This has got me thinking more deeply about the core values of humility, appreciation and compassion. Incidentally these are also core values of Lutheran education. Each is described as follows:
Acting with humility involves recognising and valuing one’s own gifts/abilities and the gifts/abilities of others as being equally valid but of no lesser or greater importance. It is using those gifts/ abilities in service to others with an attitude of selflessness. It is being thankful and willing to respect and learn from the experience of others.
It is an attitude of gratitude for what we have, the resources available to us. It is a positive attitude that responds in wonder and awe to, and with respect for, the created world – its fragility and its potential.
Having compassion is being kind to oneself, loving and attending to other people’s innermost needs. It is exercising the ability to reach out, to walk in another’s shoes, to be open and responsive to the needs and concerns of others and being active in caring for others.
St Paul’s words to the Colossians touch on the mindset that paves the way for fullness in life:
Colossians 3:12-14 ‘So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.’
So, I as journey into the unknown of 2022 and what lies ahead, with the mindset of love exemplified through humility, gratitude and compassion, knowing that it is not in my strength that I will succeed but in God’s strength and through the provision of the people he places to surround me and uphold me, I can press forward with confidence and hope.