3/22 Earthquake Update03.22.11

Tonight’s news featured ordinary people doing mundane jobs heroically, and ordinary people doing heroic jobs with extraordinary selflessness. Barring extreme events, the kids and I will head back to Tokyo tomorrow at least temporarily. I had the luxury of a couple hours to myself this afternoon, and as I thought, prayed, and watched the news,  I found encouragement and peace about this step.

One of my first thoughts when I realized there was a huge earthquake was how glad I was that my kids didn’t need baby bottles and diapers anymore, since one of my deepest fears as a young mother was that I might sometime be stranded without water in an earthquake with two babies both dependant on bottles and diapers. One story tonight highlighted factories which produce diapers, bottled water, toilet paper, bread, noodles and batteries. Many are working nonstop to make what the thousands living in temporary refuges need to survive in a way that resembles human living. Home health care nurses are searching for their patients in devastated towns, bringing smiles and warmth to many elderly who live alone and somehow survived the tsunami. I’m reminded of a quote, probably by Henri Nouwen, something to the effect that cure without care is no cure at all. I’m seeing doctors and nurses who have no medicine, but believe that listening to and encouraging survivors gently, with dignity, even if there is no pharmaceutical support, is the essence of what they were trained to do.

Another  image that struck me deeply tonight was the weather and labor-lined faces of farmers in Fukushima sadly stating their decision to destroy their just-ready-for-harvest crops of one of my top three vegetables, kakina. (It’s in the broccoli family, looks like broccoli leaves grown slim, grand, and tall;  sports bright yellow blossoms in maturity). I wonder why I feel such a connection with these farmers tonight. Perhaps it is because their faces look so much like some of our neighbors in Gunma; perhaps it’s because I rented a plot a few years back to till as part of my healing, and so the smell and feel of the soil, the sweat and stiffness of the body, the comfort of feeling and seeing the life power of sun, soil, water and seed burst through the topsoil in purest new green…all of these rise up in my chest as I watch these men resign themselves to destroying what they’ve worked for, destroying what they hoped would provide for their family- all because cesium and iodide have been found at levels which exceed legal limits.

The police, fire department, and self-defense force all continue to rotate shifts pouring water on the damaged reactors. Their levels of exposure and contamination are not so clear to the general public, but there is a rising sense in the public that these people, along with the electricians and engineers frantically trying to reconnect power and replace damaged parts, epitomize the best of Japan- selfless wholehearted giving for the good of the group. I’m not the first to appreciate the significance of their lives as we all journey into Lent, toward the cross, toward the resurrection.

 

 

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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

2 Responses to “3/22 Earthquake Update”

  1. Thanks for continuing to share the journey there. It is inspiring to read how the people respond with kindness and compassion and selflessness. It speaks to me deeply and I hope to others who read it. It is a call to a different way of being that surely reflects our Lord. We continue to stand with you and the people there, even from afar, in our hearts and prayers.

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    Posted by Eva on 12/13/09 March 22nd, 2011 at 11:40 PMReply

  2. There is nothing left to say. Perfectly put!

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    Posted by Julie on 12/13/09 March 22nd, 2011 at 11:53 PMReply

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