Brexit. The mere utterance of the word is as divisive a dinner table topic as the word Trump and has certainly garnered as many column inches in the global press.
From the shambolic, ill-informed referendum that brought it about to Theresa May's excruciatingly drawn-out wrangling for a deal with EU bigwigs, the whole affair has reduced even the most sensible of people to sounding like disgruntled teens in the comments section of a YouTube video.
Insults have been flung, milkshakes hurled, and the media drama has been—barring you live in a cave—inescapable.
With the exception of the year I lived in Australia in 1999, I have spent 41 years of my life living in the EU. 22 years in the Irish Republic, seven years in London, England, and the past 12 years in Paris, France.
I watched with pride in the mid-nineties as the Celtic Tiger brought Ireland to new heights of economic power and with subsequent horror as friends and family lost jobs after the banks went bust and brought Ireland to its knees.
What I never envisioned was where the bailout could come from: England. The turbulent history with our neighbours across the sea has led to much death and destruction, but to see England extend us a loan—and Ireland actually accept it—ushered in a new sense of unity. It felt good to know that we as the EU were all in it together.
There are many nuances to why UK voters decided to "leave." For some, I believe, it was a cry to say, "we are sick of things and we want our identity and to be heard."
One of the biggest challenges facing our modern world is the ability to be ourselves in a society that is constantly comparing itself to others—online or otherwise.
It has resulted in an unhealthy individualism that screams, "here I am, listen to me, see me!" and it comes from a place of deep insecurity and fear.
I could get on a soapbox and argue some of the geopolitical ramifications of Brexit but my trust is in Jesus and not human leaders.
I will say that I would be very sad the see the UK leave the EU. The EU is far from perfect but it has open borders that allow free movement around this stunning continent.
It has safeguards in place for citizens and workers alike and represents our countries on the global stage. It makes travel, work, and visiting a loved one in another country a lot easier. Most of all, it gives us as Europeans a sense of belonging.
God created us to be part of a community and by pushing our neighbours away, we shut ourselves off from the joys of being part of something that has the potential to be even greater than us as individuals. Opening ourselves up to other cultures brings life, knowledge, and a lot of the time, really good food!
There's an African proverb that I go back to over and over again. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. When we are united, the load is shared and we all make the journey together.
Thanks UK for journeying with my beloved home country and bailing us out back in the day, I would be sorry to see you leave.
Originally from Ireland, Malcolm McLoughlin has called Paris, France home for the past eleven years. An alcoholic and drug addict turned ultra-marathon runner, author of The Second Lap, and a speaker, with his greatest passion being to see people know the transformative power of a life lived for Jesus. He is married to Val and has two children.