We have all heard the saying ‘love thy neighbour’.  It’s one of those sayings that even if we aren’t religious, we hear in at least once or twice in our lives.

When I think of ‘love thy neighbour’ I have always assumed it means to be kind.  Which, funnily enough, is exactly what today’s post is all about.

Nature strikes

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Storm impact. Photo: Red Promos (@reparb)

Last week there was a huge storm that hit Sydney on Friday afternoon.  The suburb I live in was hit hard.  The howling wind, combined with thunder, lightning and torrential rain as well as hail did enormous damage.  Trees came down, lightening struck buildings, roofs were blown off houses, cars were damaged, the power went out and there was flash flooding just to complete the experience.

Afterwards, when nature had calmed down, we were left to emerge in shock from our homes to survey the damage.

As is often the way, as a result of the storm, people gathered in the streets.  We were all in shock about what just happened. There were many voices all talking at once, checking on each other, asking about elderly people and ensuring everyone who should be home was accounted for.

Neighbourly kindness emerges

As the evening wore on, and the extent of the damage became clear, neighbours came together to offer assistance to other neighbours.  People who we’ve never met (even though we’ve lived here for nine years) came and spoke to us, offering help.  Hurricane lanterns, extension leads, power banks, organising dinner for each other; these are just some of the small and not so small acts that demonstrated genuine care and kindness.  A neighbourly love for each other.

Challenging situations give rise to kindness and community

Truly, this experience was kindness and community at it’s best.  And it continued through the weekend as the chain saws whirred, and the clean up progressed.  Neighbours helped each other remove trees from where they had landed or embedded on roofs and fences, and offered to lend tools or ladders as required.

Slowly our homes returned to their usual orderly state.

It’s a lovely human trait that when we are facing challenging situations, we rise, pitch in and help others.

Part of me wondered, why do we generally only offer such kindness when things go wrong?  Or when we are facing challenging situations?

It would be rather lovely to think that we could show these levels of kindness and community ALL the time, not just in times of need.

Love thy neighbour

We and our neighbours have forged new bonds through the sharing of experience.  The challenge for my community now is to maintain the openness, communication, trust and kindness towards each other, despite the fact the storm is gone and the clean up is almost completed.  We need to build on the love, kindness and community that is now evident.

My challenge to you is how can you demonstrate the love you have for your fellow neighbours?  Can you shower kindness around to make a difference where you live?  Who can you show kindness to today, or this week?  Could it be to your neighbours?  Your family and friends?  Yourself?

A little kindness goes a long way,

and when we share kindness with those around us,

we build trust and community.

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