“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” That’s a quote from the Dalai Lama and one we’d be well minded to remember.
Every day, we read and hear bad news. There is poverty, crime and terrible abuse, and often we get bogged down in all the bad. But it is not all bad, there is good out there, and every day we hear those stories too, but they don’t often get the limelight they deserve.
Kindness, generosity, love and compassion are what make the human race stand out, and there are examples of these almost daily if we look around.
Right here in Kerry, that kindness and generosity stood out last week when a family in South Kerry lost their home and business in a fire. Thankfully, nobody was injured in the incident, but the Murphy family lost everything.
But out of the ashes rose the generosity and kindness of a community shocked at what unfolded, and right across South Kerry and further afield, people came on board to help Janette and Kevy and their family.
A GoFundMe page has raised over €108,000 in just over a week. Yes, €108,0000 in seven days to help a family devastated by a fire. This is what makes rural communities special; they rally around their friends and neighbours when things to wrong. As Orna Murphy summed it up last week, ‘Old friends are the best’.
It is why living in rural areas can be so special. It is why I am glad I come from a rural community, and this wonderful gesture by the community in Cahersiveen prompted me to remember the good I’ve seen from people over the years.
There have been hundreds of GoFundMe pages started across Kerry in recent years to help families in times of need. Last week’s fundraiser was just one of many examples of when kindness and compassion won out. This time it was financial support, but gestures of kindness come in all guises. Right across Kerry, people are helping each other every single day.
We have offered kindness and compassion to Ukrainian refugees, and while debate swirls around about accommodation and services, what is important to remember is the hand of friendship that we here in Kerry and in Ireland have offered to those in need. We have opened up our county and country to help others, and I think it is something we should be proud of.
Equally, a dark cloud hangs over Ballybunion this week, where a terrible tragedy unfolded when two people drowned on a local beach.
Again, the compassion of the community was evident, this time in a different guise as they expressed their sympathy to the families involved and did all they could to help following the terrible accident.
The victims were not from the locality, but their names will never be forgotten in Ballybunion as the community shows their support for the families.
So in these tough and dark times, remember the stories when communities have rallied around and helped others, and that we humans can be kind, compassionate and generous.