THERE’S a two-word phrase that passes our lips thousands of times without anyone taking much notice – even the person speaking it.
What is it that we actually mean and how all encompassing is such a phrase?
When a visitor is leaving and getting into their car to drive away, the words float on the air: “take care, drive safely, obey the road rules”.
When someone not so steady on their feet is negotiating an uneven pathway, we often advise “take care”, meaning don’t trip over.
We need to take care of ourselves – our lifestyle, our diet, our emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
We need to take care of family and friends, co-workers and associates with whom we have daily or frequent contact.
But it doesn’t stop there.
We need to exercise care in what we put into the garbage, what we recycle and what could be better utilised.
The environment belongs to all of us, but it needs caring for.
The air we breathe needs to be free from contamination. The water we drink needs to be used wisely and well and properly managed to survive in both flood and drought.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s proudest heritages, needs protection from further degradation from industrial waste and preventable contamination.
The entire universe requires us to handle it wisely and well – to take care of it.
Pope Francis published an encyclical – Laudato Si – calling us all to take proper care of the earth.
He challenges us to “protect the world, and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.”
No one is an island and not one of us can claim exemption from exercising care for all that touches our lives.
The dictionary defines care in lots of ways, but the ones that stand out for me are “watchfulness, solicitude, concern and protection.”
What a wonderful world we would be living in if we all took this to heart and let it influence the way we behave in caring for ourselves, for others and for our planet earth.