Kindness in the midst of disaster

If there’s one thing you can be sure of during any crisis in Australia, it’s the amazing display of human kindness that comes out.

Right now, we are experiencing bushfires like nothing that’s ever been seen before. The fires are wiping out massive areas of land, property, animals, and human life. People are losing everything they’ve worked for and everything they’ve known. Areas that aren’t currently directly impacted by fire are instead impacted by heavy smoke, road closures, and the constant threat that fires could start nearby at any moment. Anyone with TV or internet is exposed to 24 hour coverage of devastating images and stories from the fire grounds.

I have shed many tears over the past days as I empathise with those who have suffered this trauma. But you know what really gets the ugly sobs going for me? It’s the incredible compassion and kindness that is being shown all over the country.

People are opening their homes and businesses to those who have been evacuated. Donations of money and goods have been overwhelming. Individuals and organisations are doing what they can to ease the suffering of the animals that have been affected. Truckies are travelling long distances to deliver donated hay bales to affected farmers. Journalists are offering comfort and compassion during emotional interviews.

The outpouring of compassion is beautiful and touching. But it’s not endless. For in a few weeks when (hopefully) this disaster will have settled down, people will get back to their own lives while others are left to rebuild what is left of theirs. The images and stories will decrease over time and we will begin to forget the high emotions we all felt in the early days of January 2020. We’ll go back to road raging each other and complaining about mundane things.

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

But wouldn’t it be nice if we could all continue to share some of this kindness and compassion throughout the year. We have seen that we all have the capacity for extending our love and generosity beyond our own families. Perhaps now is the time to think about what goodness you can contribute to the community as the year goes on. Join a community group like Rotary? Regular donations to charity? Volunteering? Maybe you just want to put a reminder on your calendar each month to check in with a lonely neighbour and take them a meal. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but lets take this feeling of goodwill and carry it on beyond the current disaster. People who have been directly affected by the fires are going to need support for much longer than the news cameras are on them.

There are big changes that are needed at the Government level in terms of climate change. But instead of only focusing on that, I hope we can all focus on what we can do as individuals to bring more kindness into a world that is suffering. What are you achieving by spewing blame and hate about one Prime Minister from behind your keyboard? Try spreading something positive instead. Do some good in the world, and commit to carrying that beyond this moment of crisis.

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