Sunday, March 13, 2011

When Disaster Strikes

It's been two days since the world turned upside down for thousands of people in Japan.  Two days of the rest of the world watching, with so many hoping and praying.  So many people wondering if their loved ones were okay.  Waiting for news.  Hoping for the best.

I only know one person in Japan.  A man I knew shortly after college.  A man I had a flirtation with.  A very sweet, tender-hearted man.  And through the magic of facebook we have been able to reconnect.  We exchange very little, but I am able to get small glimpses into his life every so often.  I feel like he is still my friend.

Today I found out that he and his wife are safe.  And I exhaled.  Because in a very real way I had been holding my breath for the last two days.  Checking facebook more often than usual just to see if he's posted.  Offering many prayers and thinking of him.

Because that was all I could do. 

And when disaster strikes that is often all any of us can do.  Wait.  Hope.  Think.  Pray.  And amid all the horror that has been happening (and will for some time to come) there has been beauty.  Beauty in seeing the rescue efforts under way.  Beauty in nations offering help to other nations.  An unknown brotherhood discovered as earthquake and rescue experts from California travel to Japan to help their family in need.  And the incredible outpouring of love and concern.

There are people who are oblivious, I suppose.  Who don't know what's going on or take time to care.  There may even be those who think it's a good thing because of some prejudice they have or a hard-heartedness about human life.  But I don't have time for those people.

The ones I see are those whose hearts are breaking open full of love and concern.

And while the word disaster generally makes us think of massive things, disasters can also be tiny in scale.  It can be a disaster even if it only affects a few people.  The loss of a child.  Receiving a diagnosis of a terrible disease.  Watching Alzheimer's transform someone you love into someone who doesn't know you.  So many things.

I hope we remember to allow our hearts to be broken open for those disasters, too.  Because while we can't save the world, we can touch lives. 

I can't fix the buildings that fell down.  I can't give everyone clean drinking water.  I can't bring back the people who were lost. 

So I offer what I can.  I offer my prayers because I never run out -- I have enough for everyone.  And I offer my heart.  Because no matter how full it is, no matter how many people I hold in my heart, there is always room for one more.


Just Another Person said...

Im glad nobody you know suffered from the earthquake and tsunami. Everyone that I know is fine too. Very glad.

Stephi said...

What a lovely post Robin, one often feels so helpless and far away when things like this occur. The fact that you care and it is on your mind and have not just turned away says a lot. As for offering prayers people don't realise what a powerful tool that can be.

I am glad your friend is safe. I was so relieved when I heard from The Depressed Reader on my blog.

Margy said...

Amen, Robin.

Bonnie said...

Something Dan Rather said years ago has stuck in my head. "All politics is local." He meant that the real things that affect people's lives are quiet, local things and that we miss the boat when we read history books and look for large trends and big events. I'm glad you see that too. The real disaster is the one-by-one changed life experience of individuals, and the real contribution is the connection we feel personally with one another. All politics is local.

Running Circles said...

Beauty. In a selfish way, this post helped me today. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. :) This weekend has been very tender for me, and you've helped me to sum up and understand what I feel...