Recently a friend from St John’s College days died in Fiji. We were invited to watch the funeral service on-line. We did not do it live, and later on only watched the highlights. The full funeral service was 4 ½ hours long. I think such a long funeral service would normally not be accepted in New Zealand, but in Fiji anything significantly less would not show the required respect for the deceased.
As we come into contact with people from other cultures and backgrounds, we need to be aware of those expectations. We also need to be aware of our own standards and see that many of them we consider important because of our own background. Some things are really important, some not. Many of us could probably make it through a 4 ½ hour funeral, if we really had to. I would hope that other matters we could never get used to even if they are common, such as injustice.
During the funeral there were also a few photos of our friend and Yudy in Auckland, when they went to the city centre. For the girls from the islands (Caribbean or Pacific) the city lights were exciting, but a bit strange. They liked the lights and sights, but did not frequent the bars and other entertainment venues. Others might have said that the women did not enjoy the city centre the way it was intended, but they certainly did it with their values (and their student finances) intact.
I wonder how we react to new situations.
Can we adapt to them in our own way? Can we enter new periods of our life but keep the core of who we are. I hope so, and hopefully there can be joy in that, too.