NEARLY every person in Queensland and northern New South Wales has been directly affected by the weather we've experienced over the past few weeks. As a result, along with the physical and financial toll, there has been an extreme emotional toll on communities, businesses, families and people following the devastation.
People may also feel displaced within themselves.
The shock of the changes that have been wrought upon our homes, properties, towns and regional centres has forced people out of their "normal" and left us with sensations I would liken to post traumatic stress.
You can hear it in conversations and see it in people's faces. Even those who were spared the challenges brought by days without power, phones, information or access to clean water and food, speak of the guilt that they feel by not sharing the ordeal.
How do we cope with such an experience? How do we get up and push the reset button to get us into a positive, constructive frame of mind when everything seems so challenging?
It may appear simplistic of me, but what I have learnt from facing many crises - some of my own making and others that have been forced upon me - is that if I wake up breathing I have an opportunity to move forward. I do the things that I have control over and, initially, only those things.
I ignore the "noise" made by overly opinionated commentators removed from the situation and deal with taking one step at a time until there is sufficient distance between myself and the event - either in time or travel - where I get the opportunity to look a little further ahead.
The other thing I do is to reach out. Not something men are generally known for. When you reach out to others you have choices. Either to offer help, ask for help or just to have a chat about what's happening.
Here in our town people realised there were others far worse off than themselves. They established donation and distribution hubs to get basic hygiene items, water and food to Airlie and Bowen to support the efforts being made by the army and other organisations. When we went into a hub to drop off goods, what was truly heart-warming was the number of school kids making packs. Remember, these kids had gone through the same event.
The other thing I have learnt is patience. We get fooled by our modern world and the immediate gratification of our needs and desires. Nature really doesn't heed that.
We wish you and your families a speedy recovery and an opportunity to celebrate this Easter.
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