I have an entirely different post tapped out in Word, but after watching all the CNN footage of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and the massive Tsunami that struck the coast of Japan, I don’t have eyes to look away. I don’t have the heart to write about anything else.
My husband and I crowded around the computer screen, children spilling off our laps, as we watched the great wave slide onto land and devour everything it touched. Tendrils of water raced forward, neck and neck, licking up homes, wrapping around buildings, and seeping over farms. Cars zipped down highways trying to outrun the advancing wall of water as it choked down debris, boats and trees. I do not know that kind of panic.
Nor do I know the upsetting discouragement of surviving a thunderous quake only to realize I cannot find any of my loved ones. All lines of communication are down. Reports say the death toll was over 200 Saturday morning, but that number is expected to climb sharply. Tens of thousands of Japanese people are displaced and it is simply crushing to watch. It is a devastation of gigantic proportion.
T.S. Eliot wrote, “Human kind cannot bear much reality.” I am starting to believe him. The video clips became hard to watch and eventually, I closed the browser window.
How does God watch it? How does He handle the sorrow? Enoch tells us he weeps.
“The God of heaven…wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?” (Moses 7:29).
Enoch also tells us the earth mourned and that “when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept” (Moses 7:49).
God and His prophets see the grand scope of eternity – they know this life is not everything . Yet they weep over it, and over God’s children.
Maya Angelou has said,
“While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”
Such a connectedness allows us to see each other for who we really are – siblings with a common parentage – all of us alike on the inside.
By necessity, this understanding must change how we view the world and our place in it. It must make the world smaller, it’s people more important, and our relationships more symbiotic.
So I (like you) am praying for the people of Japan and watching the Church’s newsroom for updates on how we can assist with relief efforts. All of us are swept up in this great wave. All of humanity is entwined as the forces of nature change the course of the earth.
Again from Maya Angelou,
“Sisterhood and brotherhood are conditions people have to work at. It’s a serious matter. You compromise, you give, you take, you stand firm, and you’re relentless.”
We weren’t meant to live sovereign and unaware. We were meant to weep with each other, and for each other. It is a serious matter – this charge to love like God.
What is your reaction to recent world disasters and/or politics? Is it okay to live in our own little bubble because we can only bear so much reality? What responsibilities do we have to our brothers and sisters throughout the world? In what way has the world become a smaller place for you?
Fractal Wave Artwork: “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai (circa 1820). Mount Fuji in background.