Over the last week, I have been quietly reflecting on the senseless loss of so many lives in Christchurch.
Like many of you, I remember clearly where I was on the morning of September 11th. For me it was a Criminal Court circuit in Charleville, Queensland. Until that day the news flashes of terrorism had always seemed so far away, so separate from my ordinary life.
That morning, from the heart of a little country town far from New York City, suddenly it seemed all too close, all too shocking, all too heartbreaking.
From that day on there have been too many events that have carved a sense of loss deeper into our realities.
And over time, whilst the sorrow never lessens, a sense of resigned acceptance creeps in – bad things happen in our world, always been that way, always will be.
So I stopped myself and started to look at the good things that are happening all around us – things that never make the news.
Two weeks ago, I headed to the north of Thailand to visit Home Hug, an orphanage run by Hands Across the Water. You’ve probably heard us talk about them before – we’ve been supporting the orphanage for several years.
Home Hug gives children with HIV a safe family where they receive the education, medication, nutrition and love that they deserve. Whenever I visit, it always reminds me that there are good people doing good work in the world.
In the last couple of weeks I met with a group of local school teachers for a second time. These teachers are giving up their family time outside of work over the next 12 months to learn about how they can more effectively lead and encourage other teachers. Their commitment is remarkable and reflects the commitment of their principal to making an ongoing difference in the community.
In the last couple of weeks we have been working with Mates4Mates and Soldier On, seeing firsthand the services they provide to defence service personnel … from counselling, to a safe space for a chat with mates, to job support, there is much to commend in their work.
In the last couple of weeks, a psych we know is not charging a patient for any services because they have no money to pay at the moment but need the help.
In the last couple of weeks, our neighbour is running the flag in fundraising for Dementia Support.
In the last couple of weeks, my daughter sat with a friend in a crisis, hugged her and kept her company until help came.
The truth is that there are many good people in the world doing good work, and we don’t have to go far to find them.
The truth is that goodness can be found in the simplest of ways.
The sorrow that we feel for the families in Christchurch right now, that is real too. For the one person determined to wreak heartache, there were people who rose up in the moment, overcoming their own fear and putting aside their personal safety to shield and nurse others.
For the one person determined to divide communities on the basis of race or faith, there have been countless people who have responded with care and determination to remember … we are all more similar than we are dissimilar.
If you are in a hard place and need a hand, let us know.
If you are finding it difficult to see the good in people, then the simplest place to begin is to be the good in someone else’s day.
That is where we will keep bringing ourselves back to … and in that way, goodness will prevail.