Opinion

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.

Splendour found The Cure

Robert Smith at the Splendour in the Grass Amphitheatre stage during The Cure's show.

Day two of Splendour in the Grass

Gallery donations roll with thanks

Donors gather at The Regional Art Gallery hear from the architect, Dominic Finlay Jones, about the redevelopment of the gallery.

Regional Gallery thanks donors helping with redevelopment

NORPA brings My Radio Heart back

Performers in the NORPA co-production My Radio Heart, from left, Randolf Reimann, Phoebe Rose, Mathew Daymond, Claudie Frock, Zac Mifsud (sitting), and Lydian Dunbar. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

The piece premiered in 2014 in Lismore

Latest deals and offers

The Splendour Awards 2016

WE found the good, the bad and the plain weird of this year's festival.

Splendour found The Cure

Robert Smith at the Splendour in the Grass Amphitheatre stage during The Cure's show.

Day two of Splendour in the Grass

Gallery donations roll with thanks

Donors gather at The Regional Art Gallery hear from the architect, Dominic Finlay Jones, about the redevelopment of the gallery.

Regional Gallery thanks donors helping with redevelopment

NORPA brings My Radio Heart back

Performers in the NORPA co-production My Radio Heart, from left, Randolf Reimann, Phoebe Rose, Mathew Daymond, Claudie Frock, Zac Mifsud (sitting), and Lydian Dunbar. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

The piece premiered in 2014 in Lismore

Pizza chain goes into voluntary administration

Eagle Boys pizza store

Mackay Eagle Boys will continue to feed the Mackay community

Barn owl down, but office staff give a hoot

Northern Star journalist Sarah Knight wraps little Barney the barn owl in her jacket before handing him to WIRES.

Barney the barn owl saved by local journalists

Pokémon Go makes Ingress into Clarence Valley

Pokemon Go player Dan Optland is pictured in the game w ith a "Pidgey" Pokemon he lured to a Pokestop at the Clarence Valley Conservatorium.

Pokemon Go Pokestops evolved from hard work of unsuspecting friends.

Elise's emotional exit from MasterChef quarter finals

MasterChef Australia Top 4 contestant Elise Franciskovic.

CAIRNS cook struggles after receiving letter from fiance.

Reno stars want tradies to focus a little more on one thing

The Demmrichs want Tradies to look after their most important tool

Day 2 Splendour Pictures

Sticky Fingers perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Splendour in the Grass Day 2 covered in pictures.

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Splendour found The Cure

Robert Smith at the Splendour in the Grass Amphitheatre stage during The Cure's show.

Day two of Splendour in the Grass

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started