Have you been to Gallipoli?
In 1993, Brendon and I visited Gallipoli as part of our trek from Egypt and up through the Middle East, Turkey and Greece. Our entire Middle east trek is something strongly etched in my memory, and none more so than our day trip to the shores of Gallipoli.
It was in March, it was freezing and bleak and a lot of the monuments that are in place now were not built as yet. The huge number of Australian’s that swam there each year had not quite reached the plague proportions that they are now.
The day we went, our little group consisted of our guide and 4 other people.
We felt privileged to go there, to freely wander everywhere, to soak up the atmosphere ( because cliches notwithstanding ) it would have to be one of the most moving places that I have ever been to.
You cannot, not be moved, touched, silenced, gobsmacked, awestruck and proud all rolled into one.
It is a highly emotional place to visit.
Not quite the start to a post on doing good rather than feeling good really is it?
But stay with me!
Many organisations that I am associated with, or have been associated with often comment on how hard it is to get volunteers to help them run their organisation. Whether it is sport teams, school groups, charity organisations, non-for-profit boards or any community based activity, it seems that it is harder and harder to get the numbers of volunteers together that keep these organisations ticking over.
Volunteers, keep our society humming. and in times of real need, they are the first on the frontline, doing what is necessary, when it is necessary. I was reminded of this just this week, with the devastation of the recent rain deluge on our coast. Can you imagine what it must actually be like to be one of those volunteers? Hard as it is, I am sure that the satisfaction that they feel from assisting those in need in our community would be priceless.
Not all of us are cut out to be Volunteer Rescue Personnel or members of the SES, but often there are small groups in our own backyards who would love extra hands to make their little activity work.
Interested? why not look here for some ideas - https://volunteer.com.au/
In our increasingly digitized and fast paced society, it can seem like that rather than the world becoming smaller and smaller through technological changes, we can feel like we are becoming more and more separate from each other.
More focused inward on ourselves, more stuck in our own heads, rather than looking up and out into the world.
For a person with depression, you do feel very very isolated, separate was the word I used a lot.
I felt very separated from those around me. I managed to hold onto to one volunteer activity during the worst of it, but dropped everything else. I realise now that the continuation of that activity was a great help for me, in allowing me to feel normal.
Now that I can look outward again, one thing I am determined to make more time for is to volunteer to do things for others. Maybe I can’t always give of my time, but I can often give of my knowledge, I can give of my cash, I can share information around to get a message or story out. All of these things I can do to feel part of the wider world, to contribute to the good of the wider world.
This is a key way for me to “Find the Good”.
It isn’t always about me feeling good as the starting point, but rather by doing good, I will feel better. I have blogged and shared articles about this before, that by doing for others, our brain kicks up a notch and we feel better.
As a society, many of us seemed to have missed the memo about doing good for others, to the detriment of us all. Our society, any society functions best when we work together, when we volunteer our time, when we give what can to help those around us or to just make things happen. It doesn’t have to be a handout or handup, it could just being part of the glue that keeps our society a worthwhile place to be.
Whilst we don’t do this for a reward (a thankyou would be nice though :)), the rewards are forthcoming.
So back to Anzac day and my thoughts on Gallipoli.
How do you get from doing good for others, to feeling good to Gallipoli? I often wonder if our country needed us, would we rush to contribute? Conflicts are so much more complicated today, but would Australia have have the volunteers it might need? Something for you to ponder….I am not offering an answer here.
There is no good in war. There is no good in young men cut down too soon.
There is however much good in a society, like ours, that commemorates Anzac Day with the dignity, respect and sense of community, comradeship and belonging that the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landings will stir in all Australians.
So much of the true meaning of ANZAC says a huge amount about what is good about Australians in general and what I hope is still the Anzac spirit.
May we all ponder on the sacrifices of others, on the shared burdens, and on the sheer will and determination to work together that Anzac Day can inspire in us all.
Bring some of that spirit into your everyday life.
They shall grow not old
as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them.
All photos are from our visit in March 1993.