Wednesday, 4 September 2013


“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” - Melody Beattie

I am fortunate that I live in a country where I can lead a comfortable life, have a good job and where rights of the individual are not only respected, but assured. Looking at the news items from all over the world that are reported on a daily basis, I can only be grateful for my lot. Although I have to work hard and spend long hours doing my job both at work and at home I take heart when I consider that in many places, the unemployment rate is above 20% and many people have been jobless for years.

Looking at a world where war is still raging, terrorist actions abound and where many millions are refugees, I am thankful that I have a home to go to every night and that my life is peaceful. When I hear people complaining about their life here, in Australia I get rather annoyed. What they usually grumble about is inconsequential little details that have nothing to do with survival, petty matters that cause trifling annoyances – rich people’s problems…

I am appreciative of my early morning walks, every day. Although I live in big city of nearly five million people, there are many parks and parklands where from 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. every day I can go for a walk and enjoy the serenity of a little time alone with my thoughts and have the bonus of the physical activity that I need so much, considering I spend the better part of my working day sitting at a desk.

There is always fresh, wholesome food on my table and a person to share it with that smiles and talks with me. I can turn on the tap and enjoy safe, clean drinking water and if it’s cold I can turn the heater on. A comfortable bed awaits me at night and the sheets are freshly laundered. How many people see all of these things as luxuries and even their daily bread and water is not assured them?

One does not have to go far to find misfortune. Even here in Australia, we have poverty and homelessness. There are people living on the street and they have to beg to eat and sleep out in the open. Fortunately, these are a minority. Nevertheless, they are needy and their circumstances in many cases are not self-inflicted. I have a lot of time for the charity organisations that do wonders in assisting these people. The Salvation Army, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, The Smith Family, Villa Maria, St John’s Youth Services are but a few of these organisations, which though donations and the hard work of volunteers do a lot to relieve the misery felt by many people in our community.

Further afield, Australian charity organisations do a lot for aid and development of third world countries and many Australians sponsor children through World Vision, UNICEF, Save the Children Fund, Compassion Australia and many more. If you are comfortably off, consider helping others. You can volunteer some of your time, you can provide know-how, resources or help that is always needed. You can donate some money and this web site is a good source and has contact details of most of the major charities.


  1. Exactly so. I would start by getting our Parliament to give safe haven to desperate refugees, rather than watch their tiny ships drown at sea or towing them into barbed wire camps on remote Pacific Islands. Think of how many refugees could have been kept alive in World War Two, had not Britain, the USA, Cuba etc not banned the ships from landing.

    So while charitable donations are really important, political action at home might save even more peoples' lives.

  2. When I lived in Germany, there was a family that frequented the marktplatz in which I shopped. Every day they were in the same spot, kneeling and begging. Sometimes I left a loaf of fresh bread for their dinner, sometimes a Euro or two, sometimes a bag of fresh fruit or vegetables. Their begging was like their profession ... a way to make ends meet. For me, though, it was a reminder to all who passed that we can each give a bit of what we have. A simple act of charity, when compounded with others' acts, make all the difference in the world.

  3. A coin dropped in a hat can make all the difference to the receiver, but makes no difference to the giver.

  4. People are too selfish nowadays...