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    Thursday
    Mar172011

    Japan On My Mind

    Around our house, we get national and international news from online sources, or updates from family and friends.  Sometimes over the radio.  Even with our limited exposure, the photographs and videos from Japan are overwhelming.  I was able to view only a couple of shots from Google Earth before quickly feeling the need to close it up.  I experienced a deep sorrow - almost grief.  Whole neighborhoods, acres of land, ravaged by violent earthquakes and smeared clean by tsunami waves. What we’ve all seen and heard is difficult to digest.  Part of my discomfort comes from knowing there is nothing I can physically do to help.  All of us, the whole world, would like to send relief any way we can.  Cash, blankets, rescue workers, medical personnel, food.  All natural disasters take their toll in human suffering and economic devastation.  Modern technology allows us to witness the aftermath, and sometimes even the event in real time.

    As I looked through my small window of information at this newest world catastrophe, I witnessed something unusual.  These broken, homeless people were acting oddly.  Most bizarre, considering the enormity of their situation.  No one was running amok…no fighting…no out of control behavior.  I saw sorrow, mourning, and fear, for sure.  There was a woman whose eyes were brimming with tears.  She was holding her child and listening, calmly, to a man whose was instructing her, calmly.  During one broadcast, my parents noticed how folks who were standing in a line, a long line, were neither shoving nor hollering.  They were patiently waiting their turn to receive a few supplies.  These citizens are resolutely facing radiation scanning and beginning immediate clean-up operations.  Unless we’re just on the wrong news sources, we’ve seen very few, if no, reports of rampant looting, mob behavior, or violence.

    There is a lesson in all of this, somewhere.  While watching the weariness and the trauma, we are catching glimpses of grace in response to turmoil.  Could it be that the Japanese cultural heritage has instilled in the people ability and willingness to face adversity with calm determination?  Will their stoicism, industry, and quiet demeanor be the foundations for a speedier recovery?

    I’m not pointing a derisive finger at other responses to other disasters; I have no political agenda, and no desire to cause division.  How would I respond to an event that forever changed the dynamic of my life?  We live in an area of the country with high tornado activity; and the peak season is upon us.  A house fire could take all my worldly possessions, destroying the tangible items of our family history.  And maybe even the life of a loved one.

    I’m just thinking.  And with realizations come opportunities for self-examination and re-purposing - to be a better person than I was a moment ago.  Japan is on my mind, and it’s people are in my prayers.


    “The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations and tongues, and kindreds.  Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property.  Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; it is a positive good in the world.  That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.  Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence.” 

                                                                    ~Abraham Lincoln

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    Reader Comments (1)

    I think this article is very interesting...Had not thought about the reactions of the Japanese..I would hope I would react the same way, calmly... huh?

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