OPINION: When our values go down the toilet

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Mother Teresa, left, in 1997. She understood what life was all about.
Camera IconMother Teresa, left, in 1997. She understood what life was all about. Credit: AP

I am not afraid to say that I am a believer.

I know there are many of you who are not, but I have faith and am convinced we exist for a reason.

That aside, though, I believe, despite different opinions on why we exist, humans have qualities that certainly set us apart, especially when it comes to the treatment of fellow human beings.

In recent times we have certainly seen the best and worst of human nature.

The bushfire disaster that greatly affected the country during summer was an unprecedented event that saw us rally together to assist those who were hit worst.

And this was epitomised by the efforts of our fire and emergency volunteers, who took the word “hero” to a whole new level. But you could say the reverse has happened in recent weeks.

There is no doubt the coronavirus has had an impact on everyone.

Understandably, this has led to a large degree of anxiety in the community, which unfortunately has resulted in some behaviour that could be seen as being in stark contrast to what occurred during the bushfire period.

This was most evident in the panic-shopping behaviour that, quite frankly, has been responsible for some ugly examples of human nature.

The toilet paper phenomenon had shoppers fighting in the supermarket aisles around Australia.

There was even selfish behaviour in Geraldton.

Someone told me they had a friend that was actually punched in the face by a fellow shopper in an attempt to secure a packet of toilet rolls.

The Prime Minister and the Premier both spoke of their disgust.

It is at times like these that we possibly need to take stock and focus on the things that bind us together and allows us to rise above adversity.

Now, I am definitely no authority on telling or demonstrating to people how they should act or behave, but I do resort to my faith when things get tough.

Others could also view this as not really faith as such, but simply being human.

Recently, I came across a media presentation about Mother Teresa — someone who truly understood the essence of life.

Here are some of her inspiring quotes that make me think:

1. Peace begins with a smile.

2. Be thankful in small things because it is in them that strength lies.

3. Intense love does not measure, it just gives.

4. Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with love.

5. Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

6. If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

7. What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

8. It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.

9. Joy is a net of love in which you can catch souls.

10. If you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

Maybe it’s time to focus ...

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