Through tragedy we become stronger

It was widely reported that New York became a warm and friendly city following the devastation of the 9/11 attacks. New Yorkers banded together and knew that more than ever they needed to support each other.

Melbourne formed in solidarity on Sunday when 20,000 people marched along Sydney Road for a peace march following the tragic events of the previous week. Melbournians will become stronger as we refuse to further isolate ourselves from our neighbours. Our challenge will be whether we can build a stronger and more caring community on the back of this catalyst.

I always take pride in reaching out and speaking to people I don’t know but my own negative assumptions came to light last Saturday when I went for my mid-morning run. As usual, I stopped at a petrol station to drink water, ¾ of the way through my run. An officious looking lady in uniform strolled up to me and said something. I didn’t hear what she was saying as the music from my IPod was still blaring in my ears. I assumed that she was reprimanding me for drinking water from a privately owned tap. As I unplugged from George Michael I heard her say “I was only saying HI!”. So, in surprise I replied “HI!!” She then proceeded to tell me how fit I looked and was wondering what my routine was. We had a lovely 5 minute conversation and I proceeded on my way reflecting on how the recent horrific events in Melbourne will not stop us from reaching out to people. We must hold onto the belief that most people are inherently good and reaching out can only be good for all of us. That lady warmed my heart for proving my suspicions wrong.

One of my clients was telling me that as a result of his therapy with me, he has become far more aware of what is going on with other people and gave me an example where he stopped to ask a lady in suburban Balwyn if she was alright as he sensed something was very wrong in her world. They had a touching conversation and he gave her the support she needed during that brief but poignant moment. She told him that no one else has ever showed her that type of kindness before and she was blown away that a stranger took notice of her pain as she walked down the street.

It is time to be bold and stand strong and show support for each other and really care for people within our community and let each other know we care.

3 ways we can touch a person’s life:

  1. Look at them in the eye and smile – Homeless people report that they feel gutted that people do not look at them in the eye as they pass
  2. Ask them how they are – We all need to be asked this question. I know I do!
  3. Listen without judgement – listen with your heart , not your head

I am more proud than ever to call myself a Melbournian because we do care!