It’s Christmas. That time of the year where a good deal of us are thankful, full of love and enjoying a chance to relax for a moment. It’s a time of year to reflect on what has been.
There’s been good days and bad days. Fun times and frustrating times. Opportunities that have grown me and opportunities that have reminded me that everything happens in a time that I can’t always control.
The arrival of the impending new year is another moment. To some it’s a symbolic opportunity to move in a new direction, or to simply opt out of a place you find yourself in.
For me this time of year always has me drawn to things that i value. That means I find myself drawn to things like family and friends. I value the opportunity to stop. Christmas and it’s lead up can be so busy. Rest is important. It’s only then that you kind of realise you could use the break.
I’m reminded by friends that this time of year isn’t for all. There are those that don’t celebrate Christmas and there are those where the new year becomes simply another day and no more. It’s a reminder of how different we all can be and how it’s important to respect all around us.
As much as this time of year is nice for me, it’s been hard to see the hardships of those suffering right now. Indonesia is in my mind. A devastating tsunami ripped through an area between Sumatra and Java, killing hundreds.
Sadly it’s not the first time and it’s probable that it will happen again. I still remember vividly how scary the tsunami that hit Indonesia in 2004 was.
It seems it’s become a way of life there. That the ocean is both what gives and takes away from these people. It provides life and opportunity for the people who live in coastal regions. The relationship they have with the land and the ocean is a deep one, so it’s sad when I hear of the fear they can have in times like these.
What’s not lost on me is the devastation these natural disasters cause. It’s heartbreaking! Lives are lost. Families depleted, broken. Livelihoods smashed into oblivion. Destruction reigns and the recovery process is long and hard.
Aid efforts will help. There are many based within the country that are already doing things. It’s a proud nation with proud people and determination will play a big part in them moving forward from here.
What’s hard not to look past in times like these is the reminder of just how precious life is and how delicately our lives can be held. Life is a gift, an opportunity to make a difference. Those opportunities can be both small and large, simple and complex. But the gift is what YOU make of it.
Life is vulnerable because you have no control of it. You don’t know what’s coming. You see examples of fit and healthy people who die suddenly.
How many live with the threat that a debilitating illness could kill them at anytime, yet they live for what seems a long period in the knowledge that they’re doing better than expected?
Life is mysterious like this.
It’s not just a chance to appreciate what we do have, but to remind ourselves that there is a beauty about life and the fact that our stories remain open.
Our stories are our lives. They are what make us who we are. They’re different and unique to each other and we have so much we can learn from opening up to each other.
That’s why the heartbreak i feel for Indonesia matters. Because it is here that stories have been ended. But I’m also reminded that amongst the heartbreak within Indonesia is an opportunity for other stories to be enhanced. Other opportunities will rise from within the devastation.
I hope people will stand up for others and bring new hope and new joy. This is a new beginning. A new opportunity. An opportunity for new stories and new dreams.
But what worries me is they have been here before and it feels as though it will only happen again. My prayer is that they will find a way to be safe.
I don’t quite know how that looks, but it is okay to hope. It is more than okay to believe these people will build for a new tomorrow. For now though I pray for safety. I pray for restoration of their land and their livelihood.
I pray that the best is yet to come.