3/21 Earthquake Update03.21.11

My sister put it well in an email- she said she had a bit of Japanese news fatigue. I do too, but still find myself searching for more. Watching the faces of people recount their stories draws me in to the strength and beauty of the Japanese, and I find myself awed by the people of this country I have tried to learn from, tried to serve, tried to share Jesus with. I know I’m fatigued though, because I haven’t been able to make myself focus on what’s happening in Libya- I haven’t had the emotional energy to review the events leading up to the current crisis although my head tells me it is really important.

I’m still glued to the unfolding events at the Fukushima reactors, and fascinated by how people process the information available about them. After reading the same article, one person might feel like things have stabilized and all will be well, one person might feel that the press tends towards sensationalism anyhow, so of course everything will be fine, and another might feel that one day’s stability is a temporarily positive blip on a overall scary screen. And even with these and more ways of interpreting data, there is variation in how people make decisions in the face of danger. The three hundred workers at the Fukushima plant attempting repairs, cooling and containment are knowingly facing very high levels of radiation. This self-giving love in action points us beyond merely “what’s good for me.”

Tonight vegetables and milk in four prefectures are tainted with above acceptable levels of radiation, and the U.S. embassy has posted that they will make potassium iodide (KI) tablets available to all U.S. personnel and their dependents in a sixteen- prefecture-plus-Tokyo ring around the plants. Of course this was very carefully worded to avoid a sense of imminent danger, but that is a very large radius within which to prepare for possible radiation contamination.

As I consider these things and read of friends and acquaintances who are doing heroic acts in faraway places like Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima prefectures, I’m aware of a deep restlessness within myself- almost a greed.  I wish I was doing something important, or interesting, or even helpful to anyone. Instead I am in limbo agonizing whether to return to Tokyo or stay put here in Kobe for a little longer. I really want to return to Tokyo since my youngest’s stress levels are off the charts. He fares much, much better in a stable, orderly, familiar environment, and when he’s doing well, so is the rest of the family. When he is at ease and engaged in his regular routines of school, sports and friends, he is pretty happy and  I even have time to do things for those outside my own family. However, is returning really in everybody’s best interest? I’m old, and certainly won’t have any more kids. My kids are young, and I hope they’ll have the chance to have kids.

So tonight I close with a prayer for those who are displaced, who are feeling dis-ease with loss of familiar people and friends, dis-ease over unfamiliar environments and routines. God of peace, hear our prayer.

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

4 Responses to “3/21 Earthquake Update”

  1. Hang in there. We are praying for you here at Linwood Cov. Church. When I am afraid, anxious, or needing reassurance I pray the scriptures back to God, and it gives me the assurance I need, the hope I long for, and the peace that passes our understanding. Thank you for your insight in all that is going on in Japan. I can feel your sense of frustration and the desire for things to be normal again. I am studying with a group of women the book of Jonah and I have learned that life is a bunch of interuptions, but we need to look at it like maybe it is a devine interuption from God. What doess He have for me to do…maybe it will be something that I never thought I would do. Keep yourself safe. Renee Erickson

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    Posted by renee erickson on 12/13/09 March 22nd, 2011 at 12:57 PMReply

    • How true-most of what God asks of us is like that- things that we never thought we’d have to do. I still have “hearing” problems though, and often realize quite late that what I thought was a bothersome distraction was actually the voice of the Holy One. Please pray for good hearing, good obedience.

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      Posted by Andrea Johnson on 12/13/09 March 22nd, 2011 at 6:10 PMReply

  2. Yes. I too have felt the fatigue of the news. I need to check in each day just as if it was San Francisco. So many I am thinking and praying for. And the reactors can/do/may have such far reaching impact on Japan’s future. The world’s future. And yet this weekend I took a nap from exhaustion. I never take naps. I took a Sabbath on Sunday from news. Your blog reminds me of myself and how I process through grief and tragedy. So thank you for being brave enough to write and share your thoughts and feelings with the rest of us. I can also relate to a child’s need for routine and how that affects the family when it is disrupted….so prayer will go up for you and your family especially when our family goes through our bumps and rolls in our daily routine…from one older mom to another :o)

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    Posted by Kim on 12/13/09 March 22nd, 2011 at 1:47 PMReply

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