Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rising above the "why me" question

A resident of the seaside town of Toyoma, northern Japan, wipes her eyes as she takes a break from cleaning debris from her home on Monday ( March 14, 2011), three days after a giant quake and tsunami struck Japan's northeastern coast. Photo courtesy of NST Image Bank.
 
Every tragedy is an opportunity to assess our feelings on loss and grief. And we are guided by our belief systems when we embark on this exercise.

When we endure massive losses of the scale experienced by victims in the northeastern part of Japan we slip into confusion, misdirection and unhappiness. The hurt that follows the wreck of disaster is made worse by the inability to explain it.

The question is, "Why me?" We want answers and yearn for immediate respite. We discover that answers are not forthcoming and it is tough trying to escape from something difficult or unpleasant. So, what do we do?

Some pray to God for an end to their sufferings.When we ask God for help we are entrusting Him to take care of our problems while we struggle to find solutions. Believers hold that faith is stronger than reason.

For millennia, people who face terrible times have sought to understand why they are in such situations. There are many ways in which humans have tried to make sense of personal tragedy, past and present, minor or major.

That there is order to the universe which means that some events or calamities -- whether natural or man-made -- cannot be fully understood because we are not privy to God's grand design is the single most important factor in grappling with destruction and the subsequent anguish.

We would do well to accept them as being a part of God's plan and that means rising above our confusion, misdirection and unhappiness. In other words, tragic accidents happen for a reason which we may never totally grasp.

The thought of an afterlife is also comforting. Human life is transient and everyone has to die sooner or later. For those who believe in life after death, the passing of loved ones is but a temporary break. A belief in an afterlife of some sort, often referred to as heaven, gives hope that we will meet them again.


Believers remind us that humans must suffer some bad days because that is the way the world is. The trials and tribulations of managing our daily lives are a test of the strength of our love for God. Remember this the next time a sense of despair overwhelms you, they counsel.

If we acknowledge that we are on Earth to fulfil God's grand plan, we will be able to move on and not dwell on our sorrows. When we know ourselves and our place in the universe we will be able to resolve the "why me" predicament and renew our faith in the midst of all the confusion.

Others may undergo spiritual crises from which they may or may not recover. Those who seize the moment in each catastrophe to transform and improve themselves are the lucky ones.

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