Sunday, March 13, 2011

Devastation in Japan...a global cosmic reminder

Like everyone else with connection to the outside world, I have been watching the reports of the devastating eathquake and tsunami in Japan. Incredibly sad footage and news coverage with a death toll that is mounting daily as villages are reached and appear to have literally been washed away. As always, when a tragedy like this strikes, people from around the globe rise up and lend a hand -donations of money, time, resources flow in to aid those who have been impacted. The wrath of Mother Nature seems to call us to action, be it a tsunami, earthquake, hurricane, tornado, drought - the human spirit responds to the resulting pain in a powerful way.

For a while, we forget our self-imposed separateness and we can imagine ourselves in that situtation. A crying child being held by rescuers, for example, seems to resonate for all - no matter if that child is in New Orleans, Africa, Haiti, Indonesia or Japan. For a while we remember that we are ALL connected despite boundaries both real and imagined. We remember that pain, loss and grief are universal and felt as deeply here at home as they are on the other side of the world. We remember compassion and are reminded that it could just as easily be us or one of our family members lost to the unforgiving tide. As one of my friends likes to say - "there but by a chromosone and a twist of fate go I."

This tragedy struck me as even more deep than most in reminding us of this lesson. The tsnumai did its damage in Japan and then moved into other targets - different countries, different continents sharing the same threat and fear. The risk of nuclear meltdown in Japan surely had huge consequences beyond the country's borders.

My pollyanna attitude is going to come out now, but why do we forget about this unity and connectedness once the initial horror fades? Wouldn't it be amazing if we could marshall this sense of connectedness and common purpose on a regular basis to deal with shared problems across the globe. How many times do we need to see a devastating weather related disaster before we collectively say "crap, we need to get our collective act together and stop mistreating the planet." And how many children in this country and across the globe need to go to bed hungry or die of starvation and malnutrition before we decide that it is unacceptable. Really, in 2011 with all the the technology, advancements, and brilliance in the world should a child be dying of hunger? Or should a woman be dying of cervical cancer anywhere when it is preventable?

Obviously, we get caught up in our own life, problems and challenges, I am by no means diminishing those - I have a few big ones if my own right now. And then, the earth splits, the ocean roars, the winds spin out of control, rain is non-existent and we take notice.. a fellow human being needs help. I am an eternal optimist who believes in the innate goodness of the human spirit. These tragic moments give me hope that we do remember..somewhere buried deep, the unity of our souls, the interconnected nature of our existence.

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