Welcome to issue number 97 of The Bribie Islander. What a journey it has been so far contributing to this little local paper; connecting with you all and exploring more of our community has been a special gift. There is so much more to come and many more conversations to be had. Being born into a large family from a relatively small (and very beautiful!) town, having a mother with a unique investment in the livelihood of people and identifying with a Christian faith has moulded me.

It has shaped my mind and heart towards wanting to understand and be a proactive part of community. I love community. The word itself however has somewhat of a tame and, dare I say it, lacklustre, connotation. Community – the real meaning of it – however, is anything but. I am only just beginning to unearth and ignite in my mind just how intricate and powerful and stunning this thing is. I mean, let’s just analyse the word itself. Community: a common unity, a union that is shared with everyone.

Wow! Do you understand? This isn’t some nice saying that symbolises a group of people that all live in a certain place that sometimes cross each other’s path and sometimes do the same hobbies together. This is a concept that is interwoven with spirit, heart-beats, footprints, fingerprints, vibrations of different – unique as DNA – vocal chords all touching each other for a common purpose.

We don’t even 1/ billionth understand this level of connection. Did you know that trees talk to each other? Yup, they do. So there are these trees called acacia trees that elephants just love to munch on. The trees, however, do not like this munching and just like we humans might yell out, “watch out!”, to other fellow humans in danger, so does the acacia. Once a tree realises it is being eaten it sends out a chemical message (ethylene gas), through the air that lets other acacia know they are under-fire.

Once the neighbouring trees receive this message, they then release, ‘tannin’, which herbivores find poisonous1. So even trees, which were once thought to stand alone and independent, are actually beautiful living things that depend on each other for survival and communicate to save one another. How much we can learn from the acacia. Us humans are designed to have and to hold each other’s backs! Not stab something into them. When did we ever have the right to mistreat one another? That ‘right’ doesn’t exist and if it does, it’s a ‘wrong’.

The thing is, we are not seeing just how interconnected we are from the person next to us to that stranger on the other side of the world. No matter the physical distance, we are somehow in mysterious ways, connected. For some, that is a very disturbing thought, for others it’s both exciting and perplexing. The point is, every single one of our actions toward another person bounces into them, then onto and through people, things, animals, the rain and elements, the atmosphere, until it comes back to us.

We talk about the world economic system, cool, what about the world ecologic/biologic/sociologic system. Where has our logic of common-unity gone? Therefore, my friends, let our thoughts become deep toward one another. Be reverent. Revenge, anger, hatred toward others only ever comes back to us and destroys what we love. Let go of these things. And just because someone has done you wrong doesn’t make it right for you to pass that same wrong to others.

That kind of behaviour is very unwise and foolish. It shows a lack of character and breeds whatever your source of pain was in the first place. Find your dignity in loving and respecting others without hesitation. Islanders, may you have ears to hear a cry for help from your fellow man and the valour, especially if you have the obvious means, to do something about it. Riches means nothing at the end of this life if you only ever helped yourself for only a shallow hearted man thinks like this.

When under-fire would you stand by your mate or cower away? And remember that not only is your mate a reflection, a version, of you but so is a stranger too. For a stranger is really no stranger at all.

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