Four years ago today an earthquake shook below the sea just off Japan's northeast coast. The moving earth caused the ocean to react in an enormous tsunami. That tsunami flooded a nuclear power plant.
We call it a triple disaster.
I am not sure we can label the disasters of that day with a number. If we did, it would be much larger than three.
I am not going to list the statistics here. Anyone reading this has google and can find the numbers for themselves.
Those numbers are not just statistics. They are important.
Number of terrifying seconds the earthquake lasted.
Number of horrifying meters high the tsunami towered.
Number of awful kilometers inland the tsunami rolled.
Number of cozy homes swallowed whole.
Number of beloved mothers, grandfathers, teachers, brothers, babies, neighbors who will never take another breath.
Number of beautiful children living with giant scars where parents used to be.
Number of loved spouses living with enormous holes in their hearts.
Number of gorgeous people continuing to live in temporary housing.
A nation that has moved on, that looks back, that is stuck in time, that grieves, that learns to hope.
This is the tension which is now reality.
Four years ago I wrote these words...
I am sure others here in Japan not in the earthquake/tsunami affected areas would say the same thing. I am feeling overwhelmed. Watching the news, hearing the stories, seeing the devastation, etc, brings tears, feelings of guilt, feelings of helplessness.
Tonight we heard about a hospital that is running on a generator that will not last much longer. They have 200 patients on dialysis. They have enough supplies for 2 more days. Phones and cell phones are not working. The only way this info got out is because the TV crew happened to be there. Nurses and doctors have been there since the disasters on Friday.
What do I do with all of this? How do I respond?
Here is a quote from a friend's blog...
"What can I do for suffering people? I know that prayer is the answer and my mind knows that this is so much more powerful than anything else I could ever offer, but why does it feel so futile? Perhaps because it doesn't feel like I am really doing something and I like nothing if not to feel active and to see the results of my activity. With that in mind, I will continue to talk to God, knowing that He is bigger than all of this."
So, this is how I respond, for now.
Today, four years later, am I still praying? Or am I like Peter, James, and John in the garden, sleeping when asked to keep watch?