Monday, March 14, 2011
Bruised Bamboo, a little help.
The suffering and despair of Japan’s people is incomprehensible to me. I watch as their desperate images appear on my TV screen, slotted between ads for Pop-Tarts and toothpaste, like a tragic prime time series. The imagines are too much too take in. I want to look away. Thousands of people’s lives have been broken to bits, their pieces cast to the wind. I shift on my sofa, seeking a more comfortable position. But there is no comfort, because my brothers and sisters are suffering. I continue to watch…. and sink into a hole of despair, where hope seems impossible. and loss the victor.
I begin to fear for myself and my family. Living at sea level in Florida, where an earthquake in another remote part of the world could trigger a tsunami and it could be us on TV, or the West Coast, or any other part of the world. I want to run and hide....go somewhere safe from calamity. But there is no safe place.....and Japan is devastated.
I force myself to feel the snake of despair that has curled up inside of me: depression, fear, grief, helplessness. I see an old Japanese woman shivering under a dirty blanket. Her face is twisted with sorrow as she stands alone….and I want to comfort her. I want to hold her and weep with her for her losses……take her home with me. But I’m here, and she is oh so far away.
I learned a long time ago that hopelessness is contagious. Letting despair and fear overtake me, disarms me, making me part of the problem rather than a key to the solution. So, as I sat on my sofa, choking back tears, I whispered a prayer for the people of Japan. It wasn’t an eloquent prayer, and I’m not even sure that my words made any sense. But it was a cry from the heart; a plea for help, and restitution, and I believe it helped.
The only other thing I know to do (other than sending them money; which is the first thing to do,) is to be willing to carry their terrified faces with me as I go through my refreshingly ordinary day, and let myself feel the bite of their sufferings. That is the only help I have left to offer. Sorrow inspires empathy and empathy inspires action. We are God’s hands reaching out to our brothers and sisters in Japan. They are a part of us..... no…..they are us.