Japan, we are thinking of you today. Here is my heart.
I awoke this morning and turned on the light; thinking about thousands of Japanese who have no light switch left to turn on. For those who do, flipping the lifeless switch means nothing because they have no power. Oh God, we pray for those who remain in darkness.
I awakened becoming aware that I am safe and in my home; but my thoughts were about those who are not safe, still covered with debris, lost and without hope. Oh God, we pray that they will be found and re-united with loved ones.
I breathe in deeply knowing the air in my room was clean; thinking about thousands of Japanese who wonder what toxin is in the air they inhale with every breath. Oh God, we pray for those who are scared even to breathe.
I turned back the soft covers of my soothing bed; thinking about those who have no bed. I sensed the softness of my white pajamas. Oh God, we pray for those who slept the night in the only clothes they have on the hard floor of a shelter in northern Japan.
I felt the heat in the room; thinking about how cold it is anywhere in Tohoku without heat. Subconsciously, I sensed all was well and safe with my house and systems; thinking about those who cannot find anything left of their home. Oh God, we pray for those who have no idea where they will live or what to do next.
Because all is normal in my house, I sense all my family is safe and secure; but my heart is suddenly very heavy for those who awoke each morning last week with no idea where their family is. Oh God, we pray for search teams. Give them a special awareness of where to look.
I ran the water for a bath; thinking how much Japanese love their deep soaking bathtubs with hot water up to their necks. As the clear clean water filled the tub, I thought about the Japanese bathtubs near Sendai that are full to the brim of mud and sticks. Oh God, we pray for those who have lost the most basic elements of life.
I got dressed to go to work; thinking about the thousands who have lost their place of work; their generations-long family business, their farm or fishing business, and have no idea how to recover. Oh God, we pray for mercy and a sense of hope for those who have lost so much.
I drank from a cup of steaming hot coffee, thinking about the thousands who have not had anything hot in days. I ate a small breakfast, thinking about those who are standing in long lines just to buy something…anything, for their family to eat. Oh God, we pray for deliverance from terrible circumstances of hunger and thirst.
As I stepped outside, I thought about how beautiful snow always is; except that there is nothing beautiful about snow covering the massive piles of devastation in Japan, and the remains of human suffering. Oh God, we pray for mercy.
Approaching my car, I took in the wonder of nature and remembered the beautiful Japanese gardens and years of Bonsai nurturing; and now, instead of beauty there is mud and ugliness everywhere. Oh God, we pray for restoration of beauty and wonder.
Driving now; I thought of the tens of thousands of cars washed away in the Tsunami and the lack of basic transportation, trains or subways to help in time of emergency. Oh God, we pray for restoration.
I see school children everywhere here; but in the news pictures from Japan there is no school today because there is no school building. The beautiful Japanese school uniforms, shiny shoes and backpacks are replaced with construction hard-hats and breathing masks. Oh God, bless the children.
Passing a bank, I see the American Flag – our symbol of great hope in America in time of great loss; but I do not remember seeing the Japanese flag in the news videos. Oh, God, we pray for a renewed sense of hope and assurance that the area will raise again and recover its glory.
Passing a funeral home; I remember the potential of 7,400 people lost so far and still over 11,000 still missing in the tsunami aftermath; someone’s mother or father, brother or sister, someone’s child or grandchild, grand parent or relative. Oh God, at this moment of such great loss and uncertainty, we pray for comfort and compassion.
I listen to the radio and the story that in the face of such loss and risk, courage and sacrifice once again surface with great honor; as I consider those who willingly continue to put themselves in great personal harm’s way trying to do anything to contain the nuclear meltdown and toxic radio-active release. Oh God, we ask for protection for all who sacrifice to save others.
Oh, God we pray for Japan today and for all our friends and loved ones who will continue to need you through this very dark night. Bring to their hearts the hope of springtime and the promise that cherry blossoms fulfill every year with all the possibilities of new life and new beginnings.
Specifically, today we pray for INOAC and Mr. Inoue who has been such a wonderful blessing to all of us in Springfield.
Carl D. Malz