1. Prayer. Praying for the future safety of the Japanese people and hope for their future and rebuilding. Yes, for us, this is first and foremost a time for prayer.
2. Awe. At the sheer power of the earthquake and tsunami. Being shocked out of “self” and reminded that we do not control the world. We don’t even control our own, personal worlds.
3. Personal Meaning. After prayer and awe we paused and asked: How can we make sense of this tragedy on a personal level? What is the meaning for each of us, as individuals?
4. Admiration. Some of the cultural qualities that made tiny Japan the world’s third largest economy as well as an important ally (and formidable enemy), are the very things that are sustaining them as they stoically cope with this catastrophe. They respect authority, they value/play by the rules (law and order, too), they take personal responsibility, they come together to address their immediate needs and are already planning for the future. (Of interest: Japan has the world’s lowest homicide rate and the greatest life expectancy rate).
The photos and news stories (especially those in the Japanese press which are written from their cultural perspective vs. ours), are evidence of all this: lengthy but peaceful food and water lines; utter absence of looting and violence; their seeming ability to accept that there has been a tragedy and move forward (from reports of people we know in Japan).
5. Gratitude and Giving. Gratitude for our own personal safety and solid, dry ground under our feet all of which makes us recognize our responsibility to give to the rescue effort. You can give money (and even volunteer specialized services) through your local community/religious groups, the Red Cross, the Real Medicine Foundation (which has a psycho-trauma department), and many other venues.
These are our first thoughts (Richard’s and C.R.’s); what are yours?
Photo: Patriarca, Wikipedia Commons