The whole universe is watching…making cranes.

The last time I wrote an article like this was shortly after the Haiti crisis, and I remember praying that humankind would find its way before more disasters befell our kind…It is with a overpowering sense of sadness and loss at the lives so quickly extinguished, and a heavy heart as I ponder the fate of hundreds of thousands in the coming months…and I began making cranes.

As with Haiti, I feel the images of what has happened often speak volumes compared to my stilted words – and yet some of those same images portray the good still to come – and it is that which I cling to when the emotion becomes too much.  In times such as these it is faith alone that gives me the strength to understand that these lives have been taken from our midst at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way.  My mind and heart scream different, but faith in the Divine is all I have to hold onto…and cranes.

At 14:46:23 JST on March 11th, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude quake struck approximately 135 km off the coast of Japan.  Minutes later, the resultant tsunami struck the North East coast…

To date (at the time this article was written), there have been over two hundred and fifty aftershocks – many classified as respectable earthquakes in their own right…The constant fear of more tsunamis, another quake, and freezing temperatures are only compounded by the developing nuclear disaster already paralleling three mile island in the mid eighties.

Entire villages are missing – every occupant, every human being swept away. All the physical items we love to cherish so much and hold onto for dear life were also washed away in the tsunami…

Yet amongst the loss of both life and possession, hope blossoms like the coming spring flowers…Hope…unstoppable, driven by faith in a God, faith in The Tao, or faith that what is must be…

Others of our brothers and sisters mourn the dead as they celebrate their own survival, and that too has its consequences…why was I spared while others were not? Why were those I love taken from me? There is no solid answer to hold onto…except faith, and making cranes.

I found myself worrying about finances this morning…how can I help those so far away? What possessions or objects am I willing to let go of in order to reach out with both hands? If you are fortunate enough to be able to spare enough for a cup of coffee before work each morning, perhaps it means giving up just one cup – and sending that tiny amount to the Red Cross relief effort. Now imagine ten million doing the same.

If you live an austere and ascetic lifestyle as I subscribe to, there is no morning coffee change…so what then? Make a Japanese Origami crane, or learn how…and as you carefully fold and crease the paper, turn your thoughts and hearts to Japan and send feelings of support and caring from deep within you. That will be enough…a simple paper crane, embodying hope, faith and a granted wish.

Ultimately, the greatest gift is not the badly needed money for food and supplies, and it is not the blankets and shelter for warmth and to protect the young, the old, the sick…Ultimately, the greatest gift we give is in the knowledge that no one in Japan walks this road alone.

I am reminded of these beautiful words by Mary Stevenson in 1936:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

There are millions of us all over this earth who need our strength, our ability to put down all those things in our lives we thought were so important and face up to what is so important.  The Divine or whatever you may choose to call the all-pervading force of love and compassion in the universe makes use of all Creation – we included.  If you cannot carry someone in their time of need, simply walk with them…let them know they are not alone.

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Our prayers, our hopes, and our faith…to all of those in Japan who need our help…

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