Over the past week, communities throughout Queensland have been overcome by fire and devastation with numerous properties engulfed by the wall of fire that has scorched so much earth. These moments are ones we cannot imagine; the smell of burning timber, the sense of fear in the air, the engulfing smoke and the red glow of the fire as it approached so many properties undeterred by everything in its path, but this has been the reality for many, and sadly, some from our own community.
It is in moments like these when people put away their differences, they forget petty disputes and instead lend a hand, donate generously and support each other. Australians are resilient, they are courageous, and they dig deep to help others in need. We have seen such courage in our regular and volunteer firefighters who have battled exhaustion and heat stress to try to control these fires and save the homes of those they do not even know and probably never will. We have seen volunteers bring food, water and supplies to help keep these brave men and women going – this is the Australian way.
These fires do raise an interesting question and that is if you had to evacuate your home in a hurry right now, and could only take what you could carry, what would you take? Would it be your computer and phone, a favourite jumper, a book, the TV… or would it be more personal?
Documents, such as passports, drivers’ licences can all be replaced, as can a television, white goods, phones, computers and even your beloved coffee machine, but there are some things that may not be so easily replaced. This is for each of us to decide upon (without judgement), but it does say something about the value we place on the various things in our lives.
All too often we stray from the path and get seduced by the shiny object or the latest widget to come to the market, when the reality is, it truly has little genuine meaning or importance to us. The things that are truly the most important to us can indeed be paid far less time and attention than they are due. Sadly, we only realise this when responding to a crisis or emergency, when it can indeed be too late.
The more we evaluate our values, our beliefs and the more we continue the struggle to live honestly and in integrity with them, the more our moral compass matches our expectations and we live in a state of contentment. The more our actions stray from what we believe is in fact truly important, the more we live in stress, personal judgement and dissatisfaction.
Our aim should be to evaluate and consider these things without the crisis on our doorstep and have the opportunity to truly evaluate what is important to us. If we say family time is important, then we need to set up barriers and protect this time from all else. This is indeed a choice we make. For far too long, I too have been guilty of letting just about anything to do with my work invade family time, and although it is not something I am proud of, only I can make the decision to change – and we all need to own this in our own lives.
So, as so many people now have to re-evaluate their life after facing the devastation from these fires, we who are lucky to have been spared such devastation, should also evaluate what is truly important to us and aim to live our lives with this in mind.
Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.
Comes into us at midnight very clean.
It's perfect when it arrives, and it puts itself in our hands.
It hopes we've learned something from yesterday.