Yesterday (Friday) my son turned 16. It was a busy day and my focus was on him and trying to make his day special. So I was unaware of what unfolded in the centre of Melbourne.
It was only when my mother in law rang to check we were safe that we realised what had happened.
Melbourne had hit the news big time. But this was news the city didn’t need. Hub and I were just there ourselves recently, celebrating our wedding anniversary and enjoying an overnight getaway.
For those who are unaware, an out of control man with a violent record, drove his car down the Bourke Street pedestrian mall in Melbourne’s CBD, killing and injuring a number of innocent people (including children) along the way.
It made me feel sick.
Although this (supposedly) wasn’t terror related but the actions of one unhinged individual it still had the same devastating effects. Carnage, heartbreak and loss.
Sadly this has happened before, in other cities around the world, but when it happens in your own backyard it hits close to home. Way too close.
My sister works in the city, in an office block on the street he drove down. His car finished up just outside the building where she works.
She told me on the phone afterwards how she’d delayed lunch. How, if she’d gone out half an hour earlier, she’d have been crossing the street he’d driven down. Thank God she was already in the cafe when he sped past.
She had to hide. Amid the screaming and gunshots from outside they hunkered down and waited. No one knew what was happening.
It was only afterwards, walking out onto the cordoned off street, that she began to understand. She saw the damage, the car and the man who’d been stopped by the police lying on the ground, the victims, those who were unable to get out of the way.
My heart and prayers goes out to all those who were affected in any way and to those who lost loved ones. There’s no doubt Melbourne’s heart has been scarred.
But I refuse to become paranoid.
We can’t stop living otherwise we’d miss out on so much. Life would pass us by.
When I spoke to my sister last night we both agreed that, amid the insanity, there’s more good than evil in this world. More beauty than ugliness. I will always think that.
In every adversity, be it a senseless act like this, or the devastation of a bushfire or other natural disaster, what never fails to give me hope is the sense of community that brings people together.
The people that step forward to help. The kindness that pours out, the willingness of others to lend a hand. That’s the heart and soul of a nation and that’s what counts .
That’s what Melbourne has shown. And that’s what I choose to focus on.
Melbourne is mourning and many lives have been changed forever and for that I feel a deep sadness. But we can’t give up on hope and seeking out the beauty.
Where ever you are in the world, enjoy this moment and never forget how much we have to be grateful for. Never forget what’s truly important.
Don’t let trivial things ruin your day. Never let someone walk out the door angry with you. Refuse to let dark thoughts and worries overwhelm you. Don’t forget to tell those around you how you feel.
Hug those you love and forgive those you don’t.
And have no regrets. Life is too precious.
Wishing you light, love and peace from Melbourne. And hope, always hope.