Monday, March 11, 2013

Remembering Japan -- Two Years Later

Today my heart is heavy. I have been laying in bed for almost 2 hours (it is the middle of the night here in Japan) and I can't stop thinking about the people up North and the anniversary of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake.  I am sure many of you have seen pictures of the rebuilding that has happened over the past two years. Wrecked cars and debris have been taken away. Roads have been cleared. The airport has long ago reopened. Buildings have been repaired and some have even been rebuilt. The Fukushima nuclear plant has been contained. Amazing work has happened.

What lays on my heart at 3:21 am, is their hearts. Even two years later, aftershocks occur. Some of them large. Who comforts them each time the ground shakes beneath their feet? Do they close their eyes at night and relive the horror of watching the water come and take away everything they have ever known?  People lost friends. People lost family members. Some people lost both. Have they found peace? What about the children who ran screaming as they were rushed to get to higher ground?

I was blessed to have been able to go to the Tohoku region two different times to help in the relief efforts. The first time was three weeks after the earthquake and the second was 2.5 months after the earthquake. I went on these trips hoping that I would be able to do something, however small, for these people suffering such a tragedy. What happened, was I walked away with more than what I probably ever gave back.

So today, March 11, take a few moments in your busy day to think and pray for the people in Japan who are still haunted by what happened at 2:46 pm on that day. And then take a few more moments to hug your children, call someone you may not have talked to in a while, tell someone you love them, cuddle with your pet on the couch. In a heartbeat, it could all be gone.

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