The Wounds not Seen

The tsunami is a turning point in many ways. In human suffering and tragedy, it is unprecedented in modern times. This suffering will leave physical and psychic scars on those who are are most directly affected for the rest of their lives. Each life lost leaves a surviving loved one, or a circle of loved ones in grief that will affect them throughout their lives. This tragedy, as every tragedy, leaves a legacy that will not heal with the reconstruction of physical buildings and the re-paving of roadways.

There is no quick-fix for lives turned upside down and the permanent loss of husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends–whole communities. And my experience has been that time does not heal all wounds. We grow and adapt and become stronger, if we are fortunate. But the wounds of grief remain, lurking just beneath the surface waiting for some memory, scent, word or event to trigger painful sadness anew. And then, unexpectedly, the feelings surface and you realize, this wound, inflicted by loss remains.

All of which is to say, that those who really care about the people of southeast Asia and east Africa must be prepared to find ways to be present with them for the long haul, not just for the brief time it takes to reconstruct the physical infrastructure. The physical damage can be fixed. The damage to the spirit will take time and patience.

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