Tuesday, April 12, 2011

One Day at at Time

(Photograph by Damir Sagolj, Reuters)
(Photograph by Mainichi Shinbun, Reuters)

Words can't adequately describe my feelings about the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant disaster. It is definitely more "real" to us as we're physically close to Japan (3 hours south by air), it's my native country and we have many relatives and close friends who reside in the Tokyo region. I feel sorrow, helpless and sometimes angry when I see video footage of people and animals struggling after losing everything.

When tragedies of this magnitude occur, we will most likely remember where we were and what we were doing at the time. On March 11, I was at the physical therapist's office when we heard about a large earthquake in Japan and that Saipan was on a tsunami alert. Based on past history of no tsunamis affecting Saipan, Pam and I continued with the therapy and then went home after we got calling our families.

Not until I arrived home did I see what was happening in the Sendai region on the Internet. My many attempts to reach friends in Japan were met with frustrating busy signals. I was thankfully able to read some messages on Facebook and talk to some friends the following morning.

A month has already passed and there have been over 1000 aftershocks since the main 9.0 quake. Japan is not the same but can it recover? Yes! Japan is a resilient country full of citizens who are more "others-centered" versus self centered. The Japanese culture is one that reflects the honor/shame system so their deeds reflect a collective need to do good for the community, rather than for the individual. We've seen and heard of heart warming stories of people working tirelessly to search for family members, civil servants checking on homes for survivors and the graciousness of the community willing to share anything and everything with strangers.

Tragedies occur too often and most of the time, we become numb to them because of their frequency and their horrific nature that can be too unimaginable. The Japan tragedy is on my mind and wrestles my heart daily. Russ and I pray nightly for all the victims, survivors and the entire country. We are also reminded of how blessed we are to have wonderful family, friends and lifestyle but know that it can be temporary. So, my thought is to appreciate each day and each person that comes into our lives and give as much as we can to help others.

It feels "right" as if a natural balance strikes when we think more of others than we do of ourselves. :)

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