I WRITE this today as I have now returned with my family to the Gold Coast with thanksgiving in my heart.
Thanksgiving not for the circumstances that brought all my family together this last 2 weeks, but for the love shown to us at this time of great loss.
Thanksgiving for the integrity with which the Daily Examiner captured and reported on the lives of two beautiful people who have just left us forever, my Mom and Dad.
Thanksgiving for the warm embraces we received from locals whom, up until now, were strangers to us but clearly not to my parents.
Thanksgiving for the boldness of that beautiful Aboriginal man who came to their celebration service and went to the front to say thank you for the way that they loved on him in a way no one ever has before.
Thanksgiving for the community that received of and returned their kindness, their service, their love song to us all and made the Clarence Valley their home of choice.
My sisters and I laid their flowers at the site that dramatically closed this chapter of our lives in that instant (pictured above). It is our prayer that others are shielded from such loss and we continue to uphold the other family also injured in this accident.
Far too often all we hear of or read about is terror, fear, brokenness, hatred, pain and suffering... and yes these are all real - but how refreshing it is to receive a message of hope, of unity, of peace, of courage and love.
In the midst of this tragedy, at this time of the year - Christmas, may the true message of the season be the loudest song that is sung. This is the message of my parents, their faith and ours.
As families gather may we celebrate with unity, forgive the hurts and build on new beginnings.
May we seek out those who are alone, or hurting, or with need and meet them with an embrace, a smile, a kind word, or something to eat.
May we not view others by what they look like, how they walk, talk or anything different to us, but view them with eyes of acceptance as having been created equal.
May we choose love over hate, peace over war, grace and forgiveness over bitterness and disunity. Our country was built on these principles, so too my family, they are the message of Christ the reason for the season.
Thankyou wonderful community of the Clarence Valley for your comfort and love at this time of our great need, Merry Christmas to all from our family to yours.
With our love,
Lisa, Michelle, and Chris Emert