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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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A New Year and New Beginnings

The first working week of the year should be a positive experience, planning for the future, dealing with new and exciting possibilities… but life doesn’t always work out like that. Monday I attended a funeral, Wednesday I led a Memorial service and spent significant time with individuals dealing with the issues raised by those two events.

Out of all that emotional pain and frustration my heart cries out for answers – why? There are no easy answers, but it seems to me that being confronted by death should help each of us re-evaluate life. My observation is that life will continue to be filled with painful experiences and each one has the capacity to either make us or break us.

Somewhere I read the story of the great artist Renoir who in the last 10 years of his life was crippled by arthritis. Despite great pain Renoir kept painting. One day his friend visited him, and saw him struggling with every stroke and asked, “Why do you continue painting when you are in such agony? Renoir replied

“The pain passes: the beauty remains”.

How true of life! The pain and agony of grief might seem unbearable, the hurts of life might seem insurmountable, but with God’s help we can grow through that and begin to see something of the beauty that was there all the time. The trouble is we may need help to see it. There are no painless shortcuts, but often being able to talk about it will bring some relief, and that is one of the reasons I am here!

Chaplain Ian Whitley

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