By Nicholas “Chappy Nick” Carroll

As we near the end of what has been a ‘different’ kind of year I can’t help but be a little reflective. What comes to my mind is not how difficult or hard this year has been (though in many ways it has been).

What comes to my mind is gratefulness. I am grateful for the friendships I have. Ringo Starr famously penned the Beatles song ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’ and how right is he! I honestly do not know how I could have made this year without my friends.

It is comforting to know that a friend is as near as the nearest phone. Friends are always there offering a lending ear, a comforting word and good advice. With friends you feel like anything is possible because they are always there to support you and help you believe in yourself.

Someone put it well when they said “It’s amazing how one day someone walks into your life and you can’t remember how you ever lived without them”. I honestly don’t know how I could possibly do what I do without my friends.

It is well known how much I love my community. I live, am raising my family, work and volunteer all in the Beenleigh region. But what I love most about my community is the relationships I have formed. For me community is simply relationships and it’s these relationships that make my community special to me. It is these special friendships that connected me to my community.

Relationships are the key ingredient to forming strong communities. Ultimately, the special bond we have with cafes, restaurants, churches, parks and sporting clubs is all because of the relationships we have with the people we meet there.

Izaak Walton said that good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. William Butler Yeates said that there are not strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met. A quote I love is that a friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.

What I am getting at is that we all need friends that we can have fun with, laugh with and lean on as life seems a little easier when we have friends.

Our community has so many clubs, groups and support groups available and these are all great opportunities to meet new people and make friends. These groups include garden clubs, dance clubs, country music clubs, sporting clubs, veterans clubs, churches, The Shed, mothers groups, women’s groups and men’s groups. The list goes on and on. I met many of my close friends simply by joining a group or club in my community.

We all get by with a little help from our friends so let’s stop and reflect on those who have been there for us this year and take the time to let them know how grateful we are for having them in our lives.

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