Hi there! I’ve just come back from volunteering with the Red Cross as a disaster recovery team member to assist people affected by a freak storm and severe flooding at Murphy’s Creek in Queensland; one of the large states of Australia. This was indeed a freak storm and a very large volume of water in what is normally a charming country valley that ended up washing people, houses, cars, containers, trees etc away in a raging torrent ! These people had no chance, it was so fast and unprecedented. I was there with a team of services offering our collective assistance, listening to stories, letting people talk and making sure they were getting what they needed in emotional, mental, spiritual and physical care. Some of the things I treasured were:
- I heard of a horse that was washed away and got to a patch of dry ground alive and no-one could move it for 2 full days….it was in such shock.
- I heard of a little girl who looked up at her father and said” daddy did we make the clouds angry?”
- I sat with a raging teenage girl who had lost all her prized possessions until she calmed and I could make her laugh.
- I met a team of f our amazing men who owned their own business, who drove up from Sydney and helped clean farming and factory machinery to get things working again.
- I had people who had lost everything speak of immense gratitude for all the help they were given…..all the Angels.
- A man who had lost everything told me that he realized how generous people really were and that he had a realization of his own selfishness and that the flood made him want to be more generous himself.
It WAS an experience in many ways! I got to put myself in many new situations; all new people to work with, unknown terrain, driving an unfamiliar car, no maps; just a sat nav which I had never used and very little clothes. Of course I heard of the tragedies, but the human spirit prevailed.
I told my son that I wanted to be out of my comfort zone; to test out my resolve, to be there for others and to practice being totally present. (I think he thought I was nuts as well as being proud of me). Well I wasn’t ALWAYS totally present but I’ve come back feeling that I challenged my inner self to feel more certain, more confident with decisions I made, more able to let go of normal activities at home and in business in order to be of service to people who had huge high need. As a leader I urge you to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone as well; something that gets you dirty and grungy and in unfamiliar territory.
What disappears is the fear you used to have…you become more courageous, stronger….you know yourself more and can correct things where you see you need to; much more quickly because you have to think on your feet, make different decisions, answer to a new team, find new places, learn new things quickly. You also have to exercise patience and your communication skills and keep your heart open. So GO…challenge yourself…so that you grow your courage and strength and let your Spirit soar. Think of something you would like to be involved with and go stretch yourself! With Immense Gratitude for this opportunity to serve. Jane