Over the last 24 hours hundreds of fires have cut through land and lives throughout Victoria. Living near the fringe of the city, these fires feel close though there is no sign of them, no smoke, no hint of the inferno that blazes over the hills. Knowing people who live in the areas under attack has brought this home. These friends are among the thousands of brave volunteer firefighters that have been risking there lives in atrocious conditions. Yesterday as the fires started to burn, the temperature topped over 47 degrees Celsius.
So today I’ve spent the afternoon trying to makes sense of this. At the most basic level, we feel sympathy. Our hearts and prayers are with the families caught in the line of fire. Many of us will look for ways to give – to give money, food, clothes, blood, or to volunteer our skills.
At another level, focusing on the suffering of others can also put our own difficulties into perspective. Seeing people lose everything in their lives may even help you see your difficulties as gifts. It’s like the proverbial slap over the face – ‘Snap out of it!’
As events continue to unfold, it is important for me to not to focus on the devastation. Instead, I choose to focus on the incredible display of humanity, courage, generosity, and compassion. Ultimately, faced with disaster we have no choice but to accept it, and to deal with it as best we can. And it is in confronting the challenge that we discover the finest elements of the human spirit. This is the lotus flower arising from the mud!
Take a moment to acknowledge the suffering of others.
Take another to consider how blessed you really are.
Please give what you can to support the victims:
Donations can be made to the Australian Red Cross who are one of the lead emergency aid providers: http://www.redcross.org.au/default.asp
Please also support the RSPCA and their wonderful work helping the thousands of distressed and injured stock animals and wildlife:www.rspcavic.org
Blood is also in great demand, and will be for months to come, so consider making a regular donation. http://www.donateblood.com.au/index.aspx?IDDataTreeMenu=70
Every contribution counts!