The night is darkest right before the sun rises.

Posted February 21, 2011 from Australia

The night I heard my state was flooding was the first night I ever went to bed knowing, without a doubt in my mind, that everything was going to change. Tomorrow we were all going to wake up and everything would be different. It was going to be worse. And I couldn’t fathom how we were possibly going to get past it or fix it.

Because somewhere between the sky scrapers and technological advances, we’d lost each other. We’d become a society quick to honk or give the finger to a complete stranger, but slow to help a friend. We had so many forms of communication and transport, but we’d isolated ourselves. We had all these brilliant tools at our disposal to reach out to people, but instead we had millions feeling alone. We lived in a world where people lived, literally on top of each other, shared the same building, and went for weeks without knowing someone had died on the other side of the wall. We weren’t neighbours. We just co-existed.

We were losing ourselves and then disaster hit. Children were being washed away. People were drowning. Everything families had worked all their lives to build was floating down the streets in pieces. We were homeless. But for the first time, we were not alone.

6 000 volunteer application forms were printed, 22 000 people showed up at evacuation centres to volunteer. Thousands of others wondered inundated streets helping strangers. So many were in their darkest hour and the outstretched hand in front of them belonged to someone they’d never met, never spoken to.

Although we’d lost most of our material possessions we’d gained something special. We were a community. A real one. To the very edges of that word. We were becoming true friends.

Lance Armstrong said what stood out to him was hearing that there were traffic jams to get into Brisbane. Because people all over Australia were coming to help. He said it stood out, because when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans there were no traffic jams.

This is my miracle. My moment of suspended disbelief. I just happen to share it with an entire nation.

And now I know something else for sure, without a doubt in my mind, we’re all going to be ok.

My Story: Miracles

Comments 4

Log in or register to post comments
  • Katie Elizabeth
    Feb 22, 2011
    Feb 22, 2011

    I love your story.

    I am also a Brisbane girl, and my apartment building flooded. The kindness of complete strangers and neighbours and our rat race city becoming a community was truly a miracle. Something that I will never forget.

    I hope you are still believing in miracles a month later.

    Katie :)

  • amymorros
    Feb 26, 2011
    Feb 26, 2011

    Thank you for sharing. I heard about this in the news but reading about it from a resident is something I won't soon forget. It is amazing how people do indeed come together in times of crisis. I hope you are doing well. Amy

  • Carly Benkov
    Mar 01, 2011
    Mar 01, 2011

    Hi Alicia -- It is so amazing how communities come together in times of disaster. If only we could hold this with us always. I hope that you and those around you are getting on okay in the aftermath of the floods.

    Best wishes, Carly

  • Tina Garforth
    Mar 02, 2011
    Mar 02, 2011

    Dear Alicia, This was a lovely story that touched my heart. I agree, it is such a shame when on the one hand it takes a disaster to bring communities together, and yet such a triumph of the human spirit also when we it does happen, however it happens. Thank you for reminding us all what is truly important and what coming together can do through this story. Warm regards Tina