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Into a Post-COVID world

Some words after my last blog in January 2020 as we move into a post Covid world-yes there will be life after the pandemic, albeit in some ways quite different from pre Covid times. I have chosen a recent article written for the United Service Club, Newsletter, with an emphasis on the importance of friendship:

It is a great honour to be asked to write a few lines for the USC Newsletter, especially during a time of uncertainty and crisis. As in any time of adversity, there will always be those who see the benefits and, the positives of the situation, and no matter how badly affected by the current pandemic, there is hopefully a silver lining, which is not too far off- fingers crossed.

As a mediator for people in conflict, for the past 25 years across most States and Territories, ranging from family and workplace to community and business, there is an expectation that we can assist the warring parties to find a win/win resolution, and being able to focus on the glass half full philosophy.

How quickly Malcolm Fraser’s famous saying springs to mind “Life was not meant to be easy”, and we may well be forgiven to say there are many challenges facing us all in a far more complex and competitive world. In my own world as a mediator, I have definitely experienced these complexities and stresses being faced by so many of my clients. Others might well say life has never been a walk in the park or a dream run. There have always been wars to fight, whether on the international stage or just within families. Most of us know only too well, how ill health and accidents have been with us and always will be with us, no matter how advanced the medical system becomes and no matter how careful we might be. Bad luck can come our way or our loved ones may stumble into an unforeseen situation, take a wrong turn or just hit a bump in the road. Of course, having a loving family or good friends to stand by one in times of crisis, can so often save the day. Sadly, we live in a world where these support networks are not always present and the community networks, charities, volunteers and trained professionals are called upon to step in and so often make a huge difference or at least alleviate either loss, pain, grief or a crisis.

Having served in the Navy for 40 years, both in the permanent and reserve service, the old traditions of mateship, camaraderie and just plain old-fashioned friendship were always there by my side. Despite new challenges facing ADF members and their families and at times a sense that more should be done when they face a crisis or suffer an injury, the friendships and mateship established are priceless.

At 69, I am still learning about life and loss and am often reminded of the important things and what helps make the world go around for yourself, your family, your friends and all those you hold dear. In my day to day mediation work, trust and respect are often raised. So often it is the values we learned from our parents, at school, in our religious teachings, in the Navy, from friends and colleagues, that have assisted me in handling those everyday stresses and challenges.

From my life in the armed forces, then practising as a lawyer and mediator, it has been my more contemplative pursuits that have helped me to find and put into words some perspective on life’s continuing challenges, I wrote my first poem in 1976, while serving in HMAS Duchess. My new book of poems Life is a Dance will be out shortly and will include my first book Storm Clouds and Silver Linings-My Journey.

To finish on a positive note here are a few lines from Loss, Grief and Hope-An Ode to Friends and Loved Ones dated 16 January 2018.

Embrace love in all its norms,

Enjoy the storms.

And the quiet and peaceful times.

Not just sometimes.

Finish well, the race is being run.

And in the meantime, enjoy every moment in

the sun.

Tom Stodulka


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