Looking forward by Colin Such

Posted 2/18/2017 1:52:48 PM

How do we cope when we have suffered so much?

How do we go on when something awful has happened to us, how do we pick up the pieces and go on? It’s a question all of us face, I suppose, at some point in our lives and it’s a question I see people struggle with (although not necessarily voice) when I undertake a funeral visit. Whether it’s a death, redundancy, retirement, the breakup of a relationship, moving house, or any number of possible events, in many ways our worlds can be changed forever. Sometimes that change is for the good, even if at the time we cannot see it; a change that releases us into new life, new beginnings, new relationships and new adventures. But what when the change is loss and pain, grief and darkness? How then do we move on?
It was a question that stayed at the back of my mind on my recent holiday to Poland. Staying in Krakow and visiting Auschwitz just a few miles away. How could the city go on after the atrocities it saw in the war, after so much death and hatred, fear and persecution, how could the city begin again?
And yet here I was, having a wonderful time; Krakow is beautiful and the people welcoming. Its many churches (there seemed to be a church everywhere I looked) were busy with people popping in and out to pray and masses being read (many relayed by loudspeaker into the street outside – there’s a thought for Rushall!)
I had a wonderful time in Krakow and discovered that the city does not forget its past neither is it imprisoned by it. It celebrates its long history and its culture and it holds in everlasting remembrance the sorrows of the war years with a determination that they should never be forgotten so that the world may learn and ensure that such sorrows are never allowed again. The city also looks forward whilst welcoming its many visitors of every race, religion and culture.
How does a city, and how do we, go on? We do so by not ignoring the loss and the pain but by not being imprisoned by it either, by looking further back and remembering all that was good and by looking forward with hope and optimism to all that may be. We do so by acknowledging the pain but also by allowing ourselves to be touched by (and share in) the love and the joy that still exists in the world. In doing so we declare that death, sorrow and pain do not have the final word.