Monday, June 11, 2012

The power of love

What is power?  This question came into my mind repeatedly during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
May I share some thoughts with you?

Dependent on your point of view, the word 'power' doesn't usually get a very good press.  There's the power of the despot . . . the power of multi-national corporations . . . the power of large banks . . . the power of the international arms trade.  Power, more often than not, is associated with suppression, competition and greed.

Last weekend, looking at the enthusiastic crowds thronging the damp and chilly pavements, listening to a sodden choir singing its heart out in the pouring rain, above all watching a small, elderly lady coping with heavy demands on her stamina, the onslaught of the elements, and the sudden illness of her consort  . . . I thought again.

No-one had been paid to sleep out in the rain along the Mall.  No-one had bought tickets to acquire a prime position on the pavement facing St. Paul's.  No-one had been coerced into grasping a Union Jack and standing for hours by the roadside in the hope of seeing a royal carriage.  No-one would gain financially or professionally from any of these experiences.  But they came.

Not only did they come in person, they watched on television, they followed the events online.
A friend of mine, waiting in the crowded streets for a glimpse of the Royal party, heard the summons of her mobile.  It was her daughter phoning from Australia.
"Have you seen the Queen, Mum?" her daughter asked excitedly, "She's wearing a beautiful, mint-green outfit!"

They came . . . they watched . . . they listened.  Why?  Because they loved her.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not suggesting that the millions participating in the Jubilee weekend loved the Queen in the sense that they would have loved their friends or family.  This was different.
They loved what she epitomised . .   her dedication to duty . . . her integrity . . . her commitment to her faith . . . her old-fashioned 'Britishness' as displayed by a profound sense of fair-play.
Weary, perhaps, of our commercialised society,  a society with a very short attention-span . . . tired of a world grown prone to cynicism and greed . . . they had been reminded of alternative values and they had responded.

Is this what keeps the Queen secure on her throne?
Not her wealth, her armed forces, her crown, but her people's love for the timeless values she represents?

Nothing else could have brought out the crowds in such numbers.
Nothing else could have demonstrated, so undeniably, that the only true source of power is love.