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Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Reflections on grief

My heart goes out to the New Zealanders who today have lost loved ones in the greymouth mine. After the heart warming end to the Chilean disaster, I think everyone had hoped for a similar happy ending, but sadly this appears not to be the case.
The sad news from New Zealand about the lost miners has taken me back 11 years to the Russian submarine disaster in the Barents sea. On August 12th 2000, 118 men died after explosions onboard the vessel. I had a Ukrainian boyfriend at the time and my links with Eastern Europe at the time, brought the disaster closer to me.

I was in France at the time of the tragedy, staying in a small village called Taize, which is in Southern Burgundy. Taize is the home of a community of monks and it has become a place of pilgrimage, attracting over 5000 young people every week in the summer months. I have visited the village several times, camping out for a week at a time. Young people are put into groups, from different nations and together you meet everyday, talk, share discussions, pray and help with the running of the village.
I don't consider myself religious. I don't particularly have a faith...and would probably say that I am 'agnostic' in my beliefs. I believe there might be something there...but am also swayed by science.
My thoughts have turned to Taize again this morning as I was in the large church there when I heard the terrible news about the Kursk. If there is a God, he was there that day with me, ... with the candles and the music and the many people from all across the world sitting and praying together. It was comforting for me at the time and I hope that wherever the New Zealand families are today, I hope that they feel some comfort in that people from across the world will be thinking of them in their grief.

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