Sunday, March 13, 2011

Prayers for the Japanese after the Earthquake & Tsunami

I have seen clips of devastation, people in shock, and news reports with images of nuclear power plants either exploding or in serious trouble. I can't imagine what it must be like to be living there at this moment in history. I feel drained and unfocused as the immensity of this seeps into my consciousness.

In the midst of this, our own local streams and rivers have been flooding and NOAA has been issuing statements for days in preparation of such. This seems so trivial in comparison.

Today is Sunday. I attended my Quaker meeting: No one was moved to speak out of the silence today, but we were all thinking about Japan. This afternoon I lit candles, said prayers, and meditated. Part of my spiritual practice is to write. Today seems to be a good day to blog.

I am deeply troubled to be seeing on the internet those who claim to be God-fearing people ranting that this is a warning from God.

As humans are seekers of meaning, this, like any major life event, has a message built into it. We seem to be hard-wired for this kind of thinking. My thoughts have to do more with what is our response in the face of tragedy?

How do we care for each other?

Instead of an angry God, I see a God weeping with us. As a Christian, the Old Testament God's wrath might have been attributed to some horrible natural disaster or plagues or punishing the enemy. But for me, the New Testament is about God's love and compassion, especially when people are suffering.

Who are we as a people if we cannot grieve with our neighbors, or roll up our sleeves to do what we can? How is it that we lift each other up in the face of a natural world that has its own rhythms and cycles?

As a child, I was often blamed for things that were beyond my control. In fact, the adults would accuse me of things that, looking back, were totally unrealistic to expect from a child.

Recently, I shared a difficulty with a superior. What was so helpful, and it has taken almost 50 years to get to this point, was that she was encouraging without judgment in a way that made it clear that I did the best I could. I found that I could accept her encouragement without guilt. Guilt was just confusing the issue. Not only had she encouraged me, but she validated my instincts in the matter and offered ongoing support. It was a rare moment in a culture that is too fast to judge and pressures people to move on without the proper resources.

As the numbers of lost people range wildly and the photos of the northern, hardest hit area show massive devastation, my heart goes out to all.

Recently, science's genome work points to a link in all humans that is believed to go back to a single female nicknamed "Eve." I can pretend that the images projected into my home are unrelated to me and my life; or, I can recognize the oneness of humanity. I choose compassionate oneness.

We all have a lot to learn as those power plants release radioactive gas into the atmosphere. At this point, their own children will bear the biggest burden. After having come through Hiroshima and Nagisaki with bombs named Little Boy and Fat Man 55years ago, one has to wonder what the psychic wounds will be.

As a grandmother with a grandson living near a nuclear power plant, I too worry about the lessons. His home has iodine pills in its medicine cabinet in case there is a radioactive release. We are told nuclear is clean energy.

My prayers are for a people of an ancient culture to do the best they can and accept the help they need without guilt or blame. I would want no less for my family.