3/24 Earthquake Update03.24.11

This whole crisis in Japan and the way people view it reminds me of an empty toilet paper roll. By that, I mean that each person’s view of the crisis is limited by one’s location, perspective, and what part of the picture is chosen for focus.  No one has the whole picture, and the snippet that is seen from a particular perspective is so limited. On top of that, a focus on a minor issue may result in missing the bigger picture altogether. For those in the Tohoku area, lack of food, water, loved ones and homes is big. For those in business, the yen/dollar exchange and the stock market is big. For those in Fukushima, the uncertainty of not knowing when or if the reactor situation will come under control is big. For those with loved ones in the armed forces in the US, other parts of the world are big.

My youngest is concerned about food, all day long, every day. His biggest concern is usually whether he can have what he wants to eat, as much as he wants, as often as he wants. We haven’t had any serious food crisis yet though some days certain items haven’t been available in stores. Even so, he is grumpy about the earthquake because it seems to interfere with getting what he wants.

Although that may be a rather laughable example, it highlights how tied  we are to our own ways of viewing the world and surviving. Some people would rather ignore data that scares them, others take it with a grain of salt, others look at it straight on and then decide it doesn’t have to define their thoughts, feelings, and actions. I’m sort of a data person- not that I have a brain for math- it’s more that I feel safer the more I (think I) know. The most helpless and therefore most stressful situations for me are those where information is limited/censored/withheld. I’m married to someone who doesn’t view the world that way. He has a much better brain for math and certain kinds of logic, but data rarely holds the key position in his decision-making. Aren’t we lucky to have each other!

Today I felt my stress levels go down quite a bit with the mere addition of a few pieces of information. The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology had supposedly been testing air and water every six hours in Tokyo and prefectures surrounding Fukushima, but had been remiss in updating information on either their English or Japanese websites. Instead, news that Tokyo water contained radioactive iodine above levels considered safe for infants and toddlers came through the TV and online news sources first. This lack of information was driving me crazy. Was the Japanese government not posting it because it was too scary? What were they trying to hide? Finally today they updated both Japanese and English websites with readings of radiation in the air and water. The numbers aren’t so great, but feeling as if the information is available to me helps me a lot.

The irony in all this is that no one knows the whole picture except God. The journey of faith is a journey in letting go of control, of the illusion of control…but it is a very painful, very long journey for some of us. Another irony is that my “bedtime” reading for the month before the earthquake was from a commentary on Exodus…talk about people having to learn to give up control and their illusions of it! The Israelites had a particularly long journey, perhaps because of their unwillingness/inability to renounce their desire for control. Yet God led them and tested (trained) them at times tenderly, at times harshly, to reshape them into people who worshiped the living God, served the living God individually and as a nation, and trusted this living God in all the big and little details of their lives.

Sunday (3/27) I’m scheduled to preach in Isesaki, Gunma. Guess what the lectionary text is for that day? Exodus 17. God has a great sense of humor and must chuckle when not crying over our slowness to worship, slowness to serve and slowness to trust. P.S. I probably won’t post for a day or two since I need to use my open time to listen and prepare for Sunday. Peace be with you.


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Posted by Andrea Johnson under Uncategorized.

3 Responses to “3/24 Earthquake Update”

  1. Perspective is quite interesting in so many ways. I so enjoy reading your blog Andrea. Amazing writing. Feel like I’m hearing the voice from the inside-helps keep me focused on how to pray for the dear ones in Japan…

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    Posted by Dawn Langjahr on 12/13/09 March 24th, 2011 at 11:21 PMReply

  2. Amen Sister!

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    Posted by Julie on 12/13/09 March 25th, 2011 at 12:21 AMReply

  3. Great site I was really inspired. Have a blessed day and keep up the good work!

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    Posted by Bible Books on 12/13/09 March 28th, 2011 at 10:53 PMReply

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