A Time for Healing

September 12 will forever be a day to remember for the citizens of Simi Valley and surrounding communities, as well as the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura. The tragedy that occurred on that day was indeed horrific, but for many of us the pain was much more personal.

Many of us knew individuals who were injured in the train crash and even some who died. For those who have felt this loss, there is a sense of helplessness and vulnerability. There is sadness and grief. Others look for answers to the questions and for hope that will overcome the despair. And we look for healing.

Many of the citizens of Simi Valley, along with local elected officials, leaders of the county’s sheriff and fire departments and local clergy gathered at Grace Brethren church on Sunday night, September 14, to remember, to share, to grieve and to begin the process of healing.

Victims of the tragedy were named, and the injured were remembered and prayed for. The first responders were acknowledged for their commitment and hard work in unspeakable circumstances. Together, the attendees wept, prayed, shared, sang and comforted one another. These were the first steps on the path to healing.

Whenever we are assaulted with a painful tragedy or loss in our lives, it is important to find a safe place to give expression to our thoughts and our feelings, the sadness, the guilt, the anger and the questions. Having the opportunity to talk about what we are feeling provides a release for the destructive and painful emotional energy. Joining others who’ve shared our experience helps us realize that we are not going crazy and that we are not alone.

We should not be reluctant to see our doctor and/or a therapist to get help and to facilitate the healing. And finally, connecting with our faith communities for support, hope, faith and encouragement can also be a great source of strength when we are hurting.

by Chaplain Ron Hyrchuk

September 25, 2008