Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Life Goes On

I am intrigued by disasters. Like a magnet, I am especially drawn to airplanes and earthquakes. As a kid I read up on The Great San Francisco Earthquake like it was going out of style. And I just couldn't get enough of Amelia Earhart. It's the science of it all, I think.

So as you can imagine, I have been riveted by anything coming from Japan. And as usual, at first it was the science of it all. Facts like it sped up the Earth's rotation, shifted the axis, and moved the entire island of Japan several feet to the east... that's like information heaven for a nerd like me.

Then the human toll started to sink in.

My husband and I went to Japan several years ago. It's a beautiful place. We rode the bullet trains and saw the incredible countryside, dotted by Buddhist temples, framed by cherry blossoms. Mount Fuji is even bigger in person. Tokyo is a sea of humanity. I don't even know how to describe what the street looked like when the rush hour trains emptied out. I know I've never seen more people in one place at one time.

Hiroshima is a place that brings you to your knees as you take in what happened there in 1946.

And the food. Oh, the food. I brought home some cookbooks, but have yet to perfectly replicate anything as good as it was over there. But of course, the best thing about the trip was the people. The people were gracious and funny. And kind. And warm. We sang karaoke with our friends and shared a meal that a Sumo wrestler would eat on his own. We laughed until I thought my face would freeze that way. And except for the whole kidnapping thing, I would have brought home a couple of armfuls of beautiful Japanese children.

So maybe what happened on Friday has a little bit of personal meaning for me.

And that got me thinking. Horrible, terrible things happen all over the world. I have no control over that, which is a very hopeless feeling. Even right now, our family is dealing with a Grandma in hospice, whose days on this Earth are drawing to a close. But life goes on. Yes, I can send my widow's mite to the relief effort. I can pray. I can get my 72-hour kits together so that I'm prepared if a disaster strikes here. But even more importantly, I can do good, right here in my little corner of the globe. Just like a Tsunami, goodness spreads. Today I made a head wreath for my very confident daughter, who needs it for her upcoming pageant. Recently I have marveled at her ability to speak words of comfort to her dying great-grandmother; to play little songs for her on the piano. Today I also helped my son with his science fair project. We built a salt water alarm. He said, "Hey Mom, if salt water is ocean water, then this could work to warn people when a Tsunami is coming, right?"

Who knows what good that might lead to in a few years? I can't wait to find out.

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