Focusing on the things that unite
LIFE-changing events are funny things and very rare in the scheme of things. I have a mate who went to Africa to help those in desperate need. He reflected on the trip after and said "It was a life-changing experience... for six months”.
I find myself now in a similar situation, almost six months after our flood, thinking about who's lives and attitudes have changed. Have people just gone back to their default settings? Where is that space for community connection and empathy for others?
This was made all the more stark this week as council debated a number of significant issues. All council decisions have a negative impact on someone or something, as a decision preferences one option above another. But to me the real chanllenge is to empathise with those who think differently to you. To try and understand why someone feels the way they do about that issue. It is the least you should do if you know they don't share your views.
So when I look at each issue that comes to council I think back to the way we were united in our support for each other in challenging times. There was an empathy that is too quickly torn apart by the the white noise of everyday life.
I believe we are better than that. I believe that our focus needs to be on the things that bring us together within each decision, even if you didn't agree with what has happened. Life is to short to not live or love abundantly between our disagreements.
There is a CSG bumper sticker that says "Communities unite against coal seam gas”, which I almost always misread as "communities untie”. Maybe the truth is that both are so close together that it takes all our concentration to be on the bright side of life.