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Daring to care


Caring is one of the things that comes naturally to us. It is in us to care – protect and promote – ourselves and our “others.” Yet “care” does have some effects that seem paradoxical. Those who wear rainbow coloured hair are clearly making a personal statement that “I love me, I care myself; look at me… twice.” To those, however, who prefer to have naturally coloured hair tones, the rainbow headed stylist just “doh keh.” {{more}}They don’t care about “accepted” good taste. Or take the instructive story of care competition or comparison, where three men on their business missions, separately met at the roadside a fellow traveller who had been robbed, beaten and discarded. Two of the men chose to care about being decent and on time for their business appointments. The third man chose to care for the abuse colleague or neighbour. The three travellers cared, but one of them cared differently discerningly, daringly. Caring tests and tunes our character, trims our fancies and requires discipline.

In natural caring, it is in our nature to look out for me, and for those others who belong to me and those whom I belong to. Most of the time, when you check it out, we don’t get to choose the persons and causes that we care about, they are just given to us. Which one of us has chosen the family we were born with, or the members of our church, or the people in our political party or even our social club, network, or school? Yet it is in these collectives that we “choose” to have friends, to build affection with, to defend and to care about. Those limits on the care we share should only be the foundation, and a critical platform on which we build innovative and challenging new care concerns. Caring must burst through natural and social fences.

Dare to care

Two weeks ago, a friend invited me to attend a charity concert at Sans Souci. Those who were there in the audience agreed that the programme was “fantastic”. The organizers, “Emelda Charities…” are focusing attention on community seniors in Diamond village, and they have adopted the mantra “Dare to Care.” And, do you know that most of the organizers of the concert and charity were persons who are not based in Diamond Village? In fact, they are just getting to know and meet our community seniors, but they dare to care about persons outside of their collective circles. These mostly young people are already friends who care about each other, and now their caring spreads beyond their age group, beyond their residence area, beyond their church congregations and professional circles. Somehow, on their travels, they have seen some victims or a needy community at the roadside and they interrupt their self care and choose this care cause, outside of their cult. This is solidarity with the different other, the real meaning of care. The question that one teacher asked his class bears repeating here: “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” An even more disturbing question that he posed was this: “…if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?” Do we dare to care along these lines suggested by Jesus?

Our Carers

Our carers tell us that they are the best people to care and provide for us. That is their business, to sell their products; and care talk is a thriving commodity. “You get the best deal here” is what the business houses at home and from abroad tell us. They mean “we care about you more than the others.” They convince us, even command us to run to them for their home care, food care and cosmetic care. This commercial caring industry is perhaps most distressing in our politics. As citizens and voters we buy the messages that our political cult is there to love, protect, and promote us, and we must love protect and promote the cult leaders and their doings. Since the governing party cares for us, it is our duty to care back. We must not extend our caring to members of the opposing parties. Caring is a political party act. A ULP carer does not say a caring word for Bigger Biggs, security officer Andrews, or Alison Thomas, nor a critical caring comment about the multitude of Sehon Marshalls, and their slackness. An NDP carer will not muster a caring protest over the deselection of promising candidate for Marriaqua, Mr Godson Cain, nor pose a questioning “How he could do that?” to floral utterances from MP St Clair Leacock. And perhaps worst of all ULP women dare not stand up in support of cases and allegations of sexual abuse of women, since Prime Minister Gonsalves was tarred with such allegations. As members of the political cult, we can only care for those in the cult. We dare not care for the others. We dare not follow Jesus. Our political carers call the shots and that’s that.