どうか希望を捨てないで！Don’t Give Up Hope!
Before I know it, another week has rushed by me without my consent. I never used to understand the grown ups when they woefully commented on how quickly time flies. Aah~ obviously my youth is fleeting. Tomorrow is two weeks since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. For the next several months, I think I will always feel a bit of a sting on Friday afternoons. I’ll always remember 2:46pm. So many lives changed instantaneously.
There has been a burden on heart to discuss the topic of HOPE recently. Depending on where you stand in relation to this tragedy, this may seem like either a very odd or very appropriate topic to be writing about. I want to approach this with the utmost sensitivity because my feelings are coming from a place of deep hurt but also deep sympathy.
There is a massive wave of heartbreak underlying the everyday lives of people here in Japan. Yes, everyone is being strong and going about their lives but there is a sensitivity hanging in the air, making us catch our breath unexpectedly with every little tremor and newsflash. The media is consistently presenting the honorable, patient, courteous side of Japan’s reaction to the nightmarish conditions that have befallen the country. There is no chaos. There is no looting. Everyone is standing together, working together, and surviving together. For those of us who live here or for anyone who has experienced Japanese culture up close, this comes as no surprise. Indeed, the polite respect for each other has helped to soothe surfaces and it has kept any mass, public outbursts of panic at bay. This is a great asset to society in such times turbulent times.
However, I am afraid that the true heart of the people and the still, very urgent needs of the victims are not being properly expressed. I am not putting blame on anyone for this, nor am I trying to imply that in fact there is mayhem in the streets. What I do want to stress is –
please do not confuse a strong cultural bond to propriety with stoicism.
I am continually stunned and caught off guard by the deep emotional sensitivity felt and displayed by the Japanese. Tears flow freely at the drop of a hat. As a teacher, I have seen how emotionally devastated students and faculty members are when someone moves away. Goodbye speeches read aloud are completely unintelligible due to the open sobbing. I have had teachers ask me to redo entire lessons because
- one student
was out with a cold. They simply couldn’t bear to have them miss out on the fun.
For such a tight knit, profoundly group oriented society, can you begin to fathom what it must be like for them to have lost so many loved ones?
These people are grieving in private but I assure you, they are grieving.
As I was watching the news, I saw an interview with a survivor. The headline read that her story was miraculous. Her heart held a very different perspective. She quietly tucked her head down as tears fell to her cheeks. In a broken voice she explained that her husband, two children, and parents were all killed. Beyond that, she lost every possession she owned. “I’m not so sure that I am thankful to be alive,” she murmured. How do you even begin to pick up the pieces of a broken life?
In Japan, the suicide rate is notoriously high. My hope as of late has been for the survivors to find Solace and Comfort. I fear that for so many, they will despair until whatever end.
- I hope for hope.
So I am doing all I can to help ease the physical needs of the hurting, in order to give them proof that once again, good things can happen in the world. People care and will rally around them to protect them and uplift them. I want to spread this message of hope. I hope you will join me! Please continue reading, further down, to see how you can help!
I want to thank you all so much for your love and support for Japan over this last week and half. Your messages of comfort and offers of help have been so appreciated! Now that the days have begun to pass since the initial shock and horror of the disaster, relief efforts are begining to become more organized. I know that in the first few hours there is such a rush of compassion and people tend to give quickly but now that there are much more logistics taken care of, the real work begins. Please don’t forget about Japan at this time. I have updated my 【HELP JAPAN!】 page with new links containing very practical ways to help beyond simply giving money. Please check there! Please, give generously!