Going Back To Where You Came From.

“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.”
― Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

Since the late 20th century, Australia was considered a multicultural Western nation, and according to the 2016 census, we are made up of approximately 52% Christians of varying denominations (Wiki). Prior to that, it was made up of largely Anglo Saxons and Europeans, with Christianity the dominant religion, making up approximately 97% of the population. With results from the 2021 census still to be revealed, it is safe to say things have changed. The very definition of what makes one Australian has changed.

Society is no longer defined by clear boundaries wherein everything and everyone has a clear identity, name, place and purpose. With the threat of globalism blurring nationalistic lines, long held traditions (amongst other things) are eroding away at the alter of diversity and inclusion. As such, many find themselves clinging ever more tightly to what they consider rightfully theirs, the country in which they once felt a sense of belonging, Australia.

Everyone desires a place they can call home, a place of like-minds with people of their likeness, almost to the exclusion of all that is different. The stranger is viewed as a threat, when that threat grows, fear grows too. Fear can lead to irrationality, which can give rise to violence, leading to the formation of community groups, from various cultural and religious groups through to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and All Lives Matter (ALM). There was even recent news of a growing support for National Socialism, to an increase in anti-semitism. Not to mention, all the issues surrounding Covid, Australia has never been more culturally divided.

I grew up here, so I know all about cultural divisions. High school was the site for all kinds of racial slurs and abuses, one had to learn quickly how to fight back, if only verbally. As an immigrant from the Philippines, I made my bones. It wasn’t easy, though fun at times, I still recall the day I had enough. Bawling my eyes out, I begged mum to move me to another school. She sat me down and proceeded to lecture me that Garcias (my maiden name) don’t run from problems or bullies, that the drop of Spanish blood coursing through our veins makes us strong and resilient. No, I wasn’t going anywhere. I was to stand my ground.

Running away is always easier than standing ones ground and fighting for our piece of the pie. I get it. If we could just find a place that would make us feel that sense of belonging, that place where we aren’t constantly justifying our existence, fighting for our rights, our freedoms, our values, our beliefs. If we could only get back the Australia of old, before the foreigners came in and overwhelmed our way of life, we might be content, happy even.

I witnessed the obvious and significant changes to Melbourne upon my return home after 2 years of being in Europe. It was not the same city in which I grew up. Immigration must have peaked during the early 90s and continued ever since. I remember my first visit into the city feeling a sense of sadness at the state it had become. It was dark, ugly, cramped and polluted. If I could feel like that being an immigrant, I could not even imagine how early Australians must have felt and still feel.

Fast forward 30 years and the proliferation of social media drove many on-line with their forthright opinions, leaving no room for the imagination. Real people along with trolls do not hesitate to express their disdain at the state Australia has become and will tell any and all those they consider non-Australian exactly where to go and where they belong. Having a real presence on-line, I make no secret of my true identity, so I have heard it all. It was almost like time travelling back to high school. Initially, it hurt, I was shocked. My roots in this country have grown so deep, how dare anyone say this isn’t my country, that I did not belong.

Whilst I love Australia now, and consider it my home, for years I felt like a misfit even in my own family growing up. I used to pride myself in being a woman of the world, a free spirit, that I could live anywhere. But my ever wandering heart was always restless, always searching for that perfect place wherein I truly belonged. I never found that perfect place, instead, Christ found me. If home is where the heart is, I found it in Christ.

Christ came for the misfits, the vagabonds, the foreigners and the immigrants. In Him is our heavenly home and we should all be excited about going back to where we came from. The body of Christ is made up of many nations and races, though we speak a multitude of different languages and are of varying colours, shapes and sizes, we own the language of love and belonging. For “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts‬ ‭17:26-27‬ ‭NKJV).
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In Christ we belong.

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