Hardship, sorrows and blessings

And so there goes the first week of 2017. Before we know it, we’ll soon  be saying goodbye to January. But such is life. You see folks, nothing stops time. Not the joyful celebration of Christmas and New Year and not even the sadness we endure by having to say goodbye to all our loved ones whom we’ve had a memorable time with during the Festive season.

Life goes on. And today we find that despite how powerful we think we are, there are some things in life much more powerful than us.  The fact is everyone is ruled by a clock that refuses to stop ticking. 

Tomorrow will come unless our Maker says otherwise. And as it does, we find the planet will move along at its own leisure.

Indeed, time and the planet’s riveting journey stops for no man.

Not for the wars and suffering we see near and far, not for the bitter squabbling next to us and certainly not for our indecisiveness about what to do next.

In Samoa today, we agree that there has been much suffering. Whereas hardship and suffering as a result of a system prone to corruption and abuse is evident everywhere, cases of man-made violence and destruction causing divisions within families, villages and churches are heart breaking.

Elsewhere, the state of our environment and biodiversity continue to deteriorate. 

Despite so much talk and attention being given to the issues, we find that the remote islands we are living on in the middle of the Pacific ocean are slowly but surely sinking. 

Some of the smaller ones are disappearing before our very eyes. What is the future for these people?

Economically speaking, times are tough in Samoa. And with the weight of a foreign debt closing in on two billion tala sitting squarely on the shoulders of all Samoans, we are looking at some very tough times ahead. 

The signs are ominous. We see hardship, struggles and poverty. The street vendors in Apia and the beggars all over Samoa tell a story. You know it, I know it.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the challenges of our time. These are the issues we have to confront. 

There is much soul searching to be done. 

That much we are sure of.

It’s about us looking deep within and finding peace within ourselves. 

It’s about finding out who we really are and what we have been placed on this planet to do. 

It’s about finding our purpose, our calling and who we are here to bless. 

You see, the man God created was never meant to be a curse.

We are placed on earth to be a blessing to all God’s creations – especially to our fellow human beings.

But as much as we see problems, we also enjoy lots and lots of blessings. 

As this New Year begins, let’s be grateful that many of us still have families and loved ones around. There are families who would give anything to have what we have. Treasure the small things. They matter. 

What we have to remind ourselves is that we’ve got to keep moving forward, one glorious step at a time. To be sure, there are bound to be tough obstacles waiting for us ahead. 

Indeed, 2017 is a big mystery we know nothing about. But that is no reason for us to be discouraged.

There is promise up ahead; there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. 

Which means now is not the time to look backwards, or to hesitate. It’s time to think about hope, opportunities and priorities. It’s time to think about what’s most important.

When all is said and done, we should come to realise that not everything matters. There are some things more important than others. And there are also some things that are a total waste of time. It’s a year to pick what’s right and do what is best. 

It’s a year to choose our priorities right and give them the attention they deserve.

As a country, let’s start thinking about becoming truly independent. 

Sure, we’ve been politically independent for close to 60 years. But financially independent we are not.

And how do we achieve financial independence, you might ask. 

By thinking seriously about exports - instead of just taxes, remittances and aid.

Think of the golden opportunities presented by China - and other trading partners. Think about the doors that have been opened through all these trade deals.

Think about turning those acres of land into plantations of pineapples, pawpaw, kasava, ava, oranges and mangoes with export in mind.

Think about employment for those able- bodied young men and women who are doing nothing at present.

Think of how we can take advantage of our political stability and unity as a nation so that we become an even stronger nation.

And lastly, think about love, caring and compassion. Think about forgiveness, letting go and never giving up. 

Have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!

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