Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Some Thoughts on Japan's Disaster

Like so many, I am deeply saddened by the recent earthquake and tsunami which struck northern Japan--haunted by CNN images documenting the devastation and loss of lives. The morning Star Tribune headline “Awash in Fear and Loss” carries a photo of parents looking at the body of their daughter found in a driving school vehicle smashed by the water’s force.

I learned long ago that no explanation, whether philosophical, theological or scientific, offering reasons for “natural disasters” is ever satisfactory or commensurate with the reality of such epic human suffering. I have no intention of offering any. What strikes me as worthy of sharing is this comment from a friend:

“On the one hand, I quite agree with you about the magnitude of this tragedy. Yet there is, to my way of thinking, a silver lining that is not at all Pollyanna, and that is this: the Japanese have accepted the terms of their existence on that “Ring of Fire,” and were as prepared as anyone could be to respond afterwards. Theirs is a natural and human catastrophe, but not a moral disaster--unlike either Haiti or Katrina. I say this without wanting to minimize the tragedy we are seeing unfold.”

Pondering that, I hold the people of Japan in prayer, inspired by their graciousness reflected in this lovely image: an elderly Japanese woman, trapped for 48 hours, bowing profoundly three times to her rescuers.
original photo found here.

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