Friday, August 03, 2007

bravo steve bracks

Finally a politician I can admire. One who acts with principle and integrity. One who isn't driven by an insatiable need for power, recognition or votes. One who, for these very reasons, isn't a politician anymore. (Is the implication here that there still aren't any politicians I can admire?)

Allow me to introduce Steve Bracks, former Premier of the State of Victoria.

Last Friday Mr Bracks announced his resignation as the Premier, effective this Monday. His announcement shocked the state and the country. Here was a man at the peak of his popularity, less than one year into his third term as State Premier... and he was walking away from it all? Madness!

I admit I've never really paid much attention to Steve Bracks - sure he's one of the better looking politicians around (and believe me, that counts!) but I haven't lived in Victoria since I was 10 years old, I'm only now rejecting my Liberal party roots while Bracks was a Labour man, and I've been too caught up in local Tasmanian politics to think about anything else.

But suddenly here was a man with the courage to walk away from the top job and step into the background. Incredible!

And the reason why? He needed to be there for his family. Fantastical! His son recently crashed the family car and was charged with drink driving and Bracks decided he needed to spend more time at home. At Friday's media conference his wife, Terry Bracks, was obviously delighted.

Now excuse me for asking, but whoever makes decisions like that?! Family before personal ambitions?!? We wouldn't have any successful public figures if they put their family first. Would we? ...OK, that's a sweeping statement. Maybe there are a few successful people who put their family first, but I suspect the demands of the job must make that very, very difficult. (Also begs the question, that if we all put family first, would anything get done in the world?)

I'm sure my delight comes nowhere near that of Terry Bracks, but Steve Brack's decision has left me delighted none the less. It's almost like his decision to resign while still in his prime has given all of us permission to make similar decisions. Setting aside the fact that we shouldn't need permission, he's brought priorities to the fore and it's struck a deep cord with me.

I seem to be drowning under the weight of feelings of under achievement. I look at people I went through Bible College with, and several of them are now changing the world. Meanwhile I exist in obscurity, making but tiny differences in the world around me.

I feel insignificant.

I want to place my relationship with Frank first. I deeply value my friendships and want to cultivate them. I'm not taken with the idea of pursuing a nursing career with all I've got. I'm attracted to the concept of being a down to earth little person, with my small sphere of influence, faithfully living by what I believe. (To me that is where life is lived, in the every day small things) And yet I feel a constant pressure to do something big. I don't even believe in it, but I feel a failure because I haven't done something the whole world will recognise as amazing.

I'm beginning to recognise the source of this pressure lies way back in the past, and I'm moving towards telling it where to go, but still it influences me, and to a degree I allow it to control me.

So when Steve Bracks resigned, maybe he didn't give other people permission to go easy on themselves. But he gave me that permission! Someone at the top of his game conceded the match. Ah, the freedom... the freedom that could be mine if I can just stomp on those pesky voices from the past which demand I be the best at everything. If I can let the truth of real significance sink into my soul I might be released from the merry go round of seeking approval. If I can find the value in the little things I will find contentment. If I can nestle into that little place in God's love reserved especially for me, right under his arm, right by his side, the judgements of others will become irrelevant.

So bravo Steve Bracks! Bravo on a hard but great decision. May many of us take your lead and find significance in things that really matter. May I take your lead and not be swayed by the opinions and approval of others.



At 10:33 am, August 04, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

"I'm beginning to recognise the source of this pressure lies way back in the past, and I'm moving towards telling it where to go..."

Do it, go on, do it, tell it, and join Steve and others who braved the constant pull of public opinion, went against it, and are living lives - real lives - of significance.

You are significant, Cecily. Very much so. To Frank, to your family and friends, and to me. You rock!

Love this honest, pensive post.

At 5:19 pm, August 05, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Yay for Steve Bracks and go Cec! Not a decision either of you will regret.

At 9:22 am, August 06, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

Bravo to you, reaching for the significance of this man's action. I think we all know the pull of wishing to be big and do something amazing. But caring about and actively for those around you is, of course, amazing. Thanks for the good reminder to me.

At 5:34 am, August 07, 2007, Blogger Angela said...

wow, cecily. yes. and yes. i hear what you're saying. i have such a hard time just doing what i need to do in my little old life, and the silliest part is that success is just as difficult as failure for me. they both drive me nuts with trying to gain/keep approval.
thanks. this was so encouraging.

At 4:35 pm, August 07, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

Thanks for the feedback... maybe by the time I die I'll have dealt with the need for approval! Or not.

At 7:16 am, August 08, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

If we can live a happy life without feeling the need to win a popularity contest, then I think more of us would be happy with our souls. I also think that if we all put our families first, then there would be a lot less problems; that would be a wonderful change to our society!

At 10:05 am, August 08, 2007, Blogger Cecily said...

Thought - maybe we wouldn't need politicians if we were all better people looking out for each other and spending time with your families!

At 3:59 pm, August 09, 2007, Blogger Karen said...

I agree with all the comments above. It's so hard to just live your life as you know God wants you to - to make your focus pleasing God and not worrying about anyone else. I'm still struggling with it. I've reduced work hours, and am spending more time with family and friends - taking an interest in others and their lives but I really do feel guilty often, because my husband is still slaving away full time... I'm not sure the guilt thing will ever really go away.


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