Trials, Adversities Help Us Grow Stronger And Become Better
The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult trials we can face in mortality. Yesterday we saw emotions flowing at Suva’s Albert Park pavilion as we commemorate the death of more than 42 people during Cyclone Winston one year ago.
Those who attended the event included both families, relatives and others who wanted to show unity in grief over a national tragedy.
People wiped tears from their faces, gripped by the spirit of the moment, as they listened to music, prayers and the address by the President, Major-General (Retired) Jioji Konrote.
They left behind their political, cultural, economic and religious differences, and stood side by side to observe a two-minute silence in honour of the dead.
Unfortunately, there were some politicians who stayed away deliberately, to demonstrate their opposition to the event because they complained about the pace of the rebuilding programme.
While the Government continues to address this issue, yesterday’s event reminds us that their deaths were not in vain.
That they highlighted the challenges that we face against wild weather patterns caused by climate change. That we need to strengthen our defences to minimise risks of damage and loss of lives.
It is also important to understand what grief is and what is common for people to feel when someone dies, can help us experience a measure of peace while going through the grieving process.
One clinical social analyst says grief is the emotional, and often physical, response we have when we experience loss.
He says the more profound the loss, the more profound the grief will be. Grief can involve virtually every emotion or can leave us feeling numb and disconnected from the world around us.
He says manifestations of grief may include hopelessness, anxiety, anger, denial, guilt, incapacitating fatigue, difficulty in controlling emotions, lack of concentration, loss of interest in people or activities, and feelings of being overwhelmed.
The inter-faith prayers yesterday provided a spiritual strength to all of us that God can ease the pain.
The reassuring words of promise come from the prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4).
The social analyst says sometimes the hardest part about grief is simply not understanding what is happening. Knowing a few principles can help us successfully make our own journey through grief.
Grief hurts, he says, but it can be the salve that helps us heal when it is allowed to do its work appropriately. The first step in handling grief is to recognise that the pain is a normal part of the process. It needs to be acknowledged, not avoided.
Biblical scriptures are filled with examples of grief, loss, and the associated pain. Job grieved deeply upon learning of the death of all his children (see Job 1:18–21; 2:13; 6:1–3).
Grieving is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith in God.
One church leader sums it up well in this statement: “God knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits.
“However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way God teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.”
Yesterday’s event reinforced this message.