Thursday, February 23, 2012


"Out of our sorrows should come understanding. Through our sorrows we join with all of those before who have had to suffer and all of those who will yet have to do so. Let us not be gripped by the fear of death. If another day be added to our lives, let us joyfully receive it, but let us not anxiously depend on our tomorrows. Though we grieve the deaths of our loved ones, we accept them and hold on to our memories as precious gifts. Let us make the best of our loved ones while they are with us, and let us not bury our love with death."
This quote was written by Lucius Annaeus Seneca (the younger). Born in Cordoba, Spain, he lived from 4BC - 65AD. He was sent to Rome to study rhetoric and there met with the minds and ideas of the time which both instructed and inspired him. 
This particular quote has been used at funerals and memorial occasions the world over. Last March at the National Christchurch Memorial service, both Christchurch and New Zealand remembered the happenings of the February 22 2011 earthquake. The New Zealand Governor General, Anand Satyanand, read these words of Seneca on this occasion. How fitting they were to us all who listened.
And then yesterday, Latimer Square, a place that's hardly heard the human voice this past year as it remains cordoned in the red zone of Christchurch's CBD, was visited by dignitaries, emergency services and religious group representatives, who held a small service commemorating the first anniversary of the quake.
At this event, New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, picked up the threads of the quote from Seneca in his closing sentences ~ 
"We can not numb the pain of those who lost loved ones anymore than we can bring back those who died. But together we can take strength from one another and move forward. February 22 will forever be one of the darkest days in this proud nation's history. It was also be a day that in the worst of times, the best of human spirit was on display. That spirit is something that no earthquake can ever take away."
To look back, talk about and remember the details of tragic and hard times, is probably a rare pastime in your household as it is in mine. But ceremonies like this one in Christchurch, remind us that troubles and disasters are normal, will happen and are common to all - even at a time when people like to think they have control over things in this world.
The two points
 * of "making the best of our loved ones while they are with us" 
 * and "the best of human spirit" being displayed in "the darkest days", ARE ideas worth reading and talking about in our families, and more than that they are worth putting into practice in our families. We as parents can initiate this.

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