In planning and participating in our Bless this Road event, I believe that we achieved our aims: to educate community members about leading practices in road safety, to share our grief and pain; to express our gratitude; to build our individual and shared courage – as a community of mourners; and to celebrate our loved ones and our achievements. And to move on with our lives despite the tragedies we have experienced.
At Bless the Road, we gather together in an unprecedented way to build community. Under the powerful watchful presence of the sacred volcano, Wolumbin, we create something new and truly beautiful from our shared grief, desolation and despair.
We help to make that stretch of Kyogle Road safer for all road users. It’s not perfect, but it was the best we could achieve against massive resistance. At some level and in our own ways, at Bless this Road, we consecrate that space and heal some of the many sorrows that it represents in our lives and in the lives of many Uki community members, who grieve to have such a notorious black spot on their doorstep.
And, like the Phoenix Grievers, we are rising from the ashes and chaos of our collective trauma, and we are joyfully celebrating the grace that has brought us home.
Message from Cr. Isaac Smith, Mayor of Lismore
Isaac Smith, Mayor of the neighbouring City of Lismore, understands perfectly what we are doing. He sends a welcoming message that shows how deeply he understands our shared intentions:
I am sorry that I cannot join you today, but I want to thank Wendy and all those who made this significant event happen.
Every individual and, indeed, every community, must make a choice on how to respond to tragedy. We see many examples of human nature at its worst when that response pulls people apart.
But what we see today is the best in us. What we see today is the inspiration and the restoration of trust in the human spirit.
By gathering here and blessing this road, we are all standing together in hope that our future will be brighter and that those who have scars may be healed.
This is a great example to all communities that the roads which inevitably create angst and loss, can also represent peace … if we so choose.
The residents of Nimbin and the whole of Lismore Shire thank you all for gathering today to bless our road.
For a New Beginning
At Bless this Road, I read a poem I found while I was designing this event. It’s by the late Irish poet, John O’Donohue.
Despite my many disappointments with how I was treated by Tweed Shire Council and the poor quality of the repaired road, my soul is now deeply healed by our shared Bless this Road experience. I feel a “path of plenitude” opening up before me. I experience delight when my courage kindles and I step out onto new ground.
I sense the new world that awaits me.
For a New Beginning:
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.