When bad things happen, it's very human to ask why. Why did this have to happen to me? To my family? To my community? Being able to make sense out of tragedy, out of what has happened, and to find some meaning in it is critical if we are to deal with and manage the feelings that a tragedy arouses. For many people, spiritual and religious beliefs and practices are the way in which they deal with, explain and find meaning when bad things happen.
Meaning and a sense of purpose in one's life is best found before a crisis. Griff is a good example of an individual who understands this and practices it. He is one of the characters in the novel, Reaching Home, a novel about conquering fear and building resilience.
Griff is a large man in his late sixties with a bushy white beard speckled with gray. He had grown up in Texas and trained for the ministry as a young man. After 8 years, he left the church and moved his young family to New England. Griff supported them through working as a grant writer for local human service organizations. They rented a small hardscrabble farm - a poor man's farm - and home-schooled their children. The two eldest left New England for college. They were good students and found jobs in other places. They did not return to Maine. But Todd, the youngest one, stayed to work the farm and fish. Soon after Todd became ill, Griff's wife died suddenly. Griff seemed to recover from Beth's death, but Todd's illness shook him to the core. While Todd was still alive, Griff decided to return to the ministry. He took a position as a pastor of a small church near their home and spent the rest of his time caring for Todd and being an AIDS activist. This was the illness Todd was struggling with.