A minute of silence

When we think of all the hustle and bustle we jam-pack into our days and weeks, the school term, and our daily lives, the metaphor of a stuffed suitcase, bursting at the seams with odds and ends escaping comes to mind. Perhaps you imagine riding a wild brumby, plunging down the side of a Snowy Mountain. With the holidays just behind us, perhaps the former is more relatable. We live our lives. We fill our minutes with busyness, work, learning, laughter, activity and increasingly, with technological distraction.

We talk of embracing mindfulness, of sitting in quiet moments of prayer or reflection, and may even have established a meditative practice we can claim to enjoy with some form of regularity. But I wonder how successful we really are when it comes to quieting our minds? How well do we sit with silence? Where do our thoughts go in those moments between the Last Post and Rouse as we commemorate Anzac Day?

Do we think of the fallen, of sacrifice, of loss? These are abstract terms we can certainly appreciate, but for most, concepts we’ve been incredibly fortunate not to have experienced on the same scale as the 77 million people who lost their lives during WWI and WWII. We understand the history, we can find Gallipoli on a map, but unless we’ve been there and have served, we can’t truly know what it’s really like to experience the incredible bonds of comradery and mateship that are forged under these most difficult of circumstances. Do we reflect on service, as we were reminded so beautifully by Brigadier Ana Duncan, AM, CSC in her Anzac Day Assembly address to the Senior School? Do we think of how we could make a difference, are we inspired to act?

I heard an interview with a woman who had travelled to Gallipoli to commemorate Anzac Day this year. She spoke of silence broken only by the sound of the waves as dawn broke – something we can all imagine. How powerful the imagery evoked as we contemplate those 36 rowing boats, already under fire, landing on the beach, and how profound the respect we feel. For all who serve. Lest we forget.

Ms Ellena Papas
Executive Director (Operations)