16 October 2017

Over the years I have heard many stories, some told by individuals and many by community. Many of these stories were not in words but in life experiences. Sadly we miss many of the meanings of these stories because we fail to reflect on them. By 'stories' I don't mean, experiences that trivialize life but rather enhance it.

In the last few weeks I have had the privilege to share in some more of these stories. Six boys and four adults, including myself travelled to one of the more isolated indigenous communities in our north, Jigalong. You will hear more of the detail of this expedition later this term, but I wanted to reflect my person thoughts.

This community governs itself and relies heavily on aboriginal lore. It's ceremonies and practices reflect many, many centuries of attachment to the land and to family.

Stories of the 'Rabbit Proof Fence' which centres on Jigalong remind us of the clash of cultures as a result of lack of understanding, listening and respect for a different way of life.

The boys commented on the 'happiness' of the people and their reliance on family and by that I mean an entity much wider than the nuclear family. We glimpsed the way life and death were part of the same journey and the importance of showing respect for and completing the life of others through the 'sorry camps' and funeral ceremonies.

The beauty of the outback was undeniable. The majesty and peacefulness in isolated waterholes and meeting grounds brought us a different element to our own stories.

In a busy life we need to take time to listen and respect the stories of others, particularly different cultures and value the new understanding that we each receive.

Rev. Chas Lewis