Tragedy brings out our best

BAD things happen to good people. It isn't fair, it doesn't make sense to any sort of world view that tries to teach us the values of being a virtuous person, but it happens all the time.

In my little community a woman who has given so much time and energy to the school, pre-school and other community organisations has been struck down with a terminal illness. From what I hear, she is unlikely to see Christmas.

It was sudden and shocking news.

She will leave behind a primary school aged child and a relatively new partner who may have no rights to look after the child he has formed a strong bond with.

People in our community are cooking meals and offering whatever support they can.

That's what we do. That's what defines a community.

Time and time again we hear that tragedy and adversity bring out the best in people.

As Hurricane Sandy wreaks havoc across America's east coast, the news stories are already focussing on the efforts of volunteers to help those in need. We see the same narrative happening every time a fire or a flood rips through an unsuspecting community.

Those who weren't affected feel a collective sense of relief that it wasn't them - that life's lottery dealt them a good hand on that occasion. And by pitching in and helping those who weren't so lucky, we are acknowledging a sort of debt of gratitude to the universe.

This week Rudi Maxwell has written about her experience helping out at the Coraki Art Prize (see Modern Woman, page 8) and how the community of Coraki rallied around to support the event after the main organiser was struck down with illness.

The nature of community has changed with the online world expanding the definition, but there is still something strong and tangible about your immediate, geographic community. And it doesn't matter if it's New York City, with a population of over eight million, or a small rural village.

Bad things happen to good people. It isn't fair, but we define ourselves by how we respond.

Topics:  opinion

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'

A battle over seal enclosures at Dolphin Marine Magic threatens the facility's ability to stay open, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser warns.

DPI crackdown a threat to Dolphin Marine Magic, warns MP

Young hands ensure a strong future for Lismore

PARKING MAD: The new parking restrictions around the Lismore Base Hospital had not been popular.

A promise is a promise and Mayor happy to have followed through.

Local Partners

Shark victim: "I just want to enjoy being alive today'

THE Byron Bay surfer attacked by a shark says he is lucky to be alive after a shark threw him from his board while surfing at Broken Head.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Paul Capsis brings the nightlife to Tropical Fruits

LUMINOUS: Paul Capsis created a bespoke performance for NORPA's Generator fundraiser back in 2007.

As part of the Tropical Fruits Festival 2016.

Taylor Swift files lawsuit over alleged groping

Taylor Swift source Bang

Swift has commenced legal action against a DJ over the incident

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Federal grant keeps NORPA telling our local stories

ANNOUNCEMENT: NORPA's Producer Marisa Snow, Artistic Director Julian Louis, General Manager Patrick Healy, Chair David Wolff, with Member for Page Kevin Hogan.

Arts company granted almost $400,00 over two years

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track