Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life is Beautiful

For Terisa, the tsunami of 29/09 was many things. It was a merciless thief. It took their businesses – “all of a sudden, everything’s gone, taken. Your sweat, what you worked all these years for. Nine years of hard work taken away.”

It robbed her of her peace. “I’ve always felt that the ocean was a calm, peaceful thing…it used to be a place where we could go sit and relax and to soothe your mind. Maybe in time, it will be a soothing place for me again, but now, if I go to the beach, all I can think about is that the tsunami’s coming back.”

It took her mother, robbing the So’otoa family of many more years with a woman who was their strength. Terisa's daughter Tiare and her cousins will not have a grandmother’s gentle wisdom to turn to as they become young adults and one day begin families of their own.

The tsunami was also a harsh teacher. “It made me stronger and more humble. It made me realize that God created us and God can take you anytime He wants. We’re only here temporarily, but life is beautiful and we just have to live it to the fullest every day. This tsunami has changed my life completely. Before, I would only go to church when I have time…I was like the black sheep of the family! But this disaster had made me stronger in my faith. I believe there must be a reason why I was supposed to live. When I think back to what happened to me – there’s no way that I should have survived. I should have died in that house. I am very fortunate. I don’t know how I survived but it was for a reason. And that’s what I’m trying to discover right now. What is my calling? To take better care of my family, my village and my people? In the past months now, I have gotten involved in different church and community groups…now I do things out of my true life, out of my heart. Not because I want anybody to like me, but because I truly believe that I could die and yet I haven’t done any good deeds for anybody else. This has strengthened my faith and also my relationship with my husband and daughter.”

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