Yesterday at dinner, Dora and I said grace before we ate. It seemed like a day that needed that - a moment of silence or simple words to thank God for our blessings, and to pray for others. I confess that we don't normally say grace unless on a special occasion - something I picked up from my own childhood. But last night, it was just the two of us, and an edamame, cabbage, chicken, and noodle stir-fry on a regular old Monday night. Nothing special.
I was somewhat surprised to find myself reciting a prayer we said as children, one I hadn't heard or thought of in many years. We've taught Dora the short child's prayer, "God is great", etc., and on special occasions I recite the Runser family traditional prayer, based on Psalm 145, and referred to in our family simply as "the Eyes". But this prayer - I can't even think of the last time I said it:
Lord, thank you for this food,
and all the blessings of today,
help us to show our love,
by being kind and good, we pray.
After this, we prayed for the people of Japan. As with any disaster of epic proportions, I am overwhelmed and saddened for all of those who are suffering from this tragedy. As news reports come in of tens of thousands of lives lost, villages destroyed, displaced people going hungry, and possible nuclear crisis, I am reminded of how small and helpless each of us are. It feels like even those of us who want to help can hardly do so, as what does a small donation really mean in the face of such loss.
I look at my safe, warm, beautiful little girl, my loving husband, our sweet little life, our new baby on the way, and I know I should be saying grace at every meal. I should be thanking God at every turn for all of the grace afforded to me in so many ways, the abundance given to me that is embarassing in comparison to the needs of others. It simply doesn't make sense, how some can have so little while others so much, how some of us are in peril while others are us are warm, safe, fed, and dry.
I know only one person in all of Japan, my friend Hiroshi. I heard from him yesterday and I know that he, and his immediate family, are safe. He is traveling around the country, trying to document through his photographs what has happened, and hopefully keeping himself safe in the process. In a short message to me he explained that he and his family are safe, and not directly impacted by the earthquake. But, he added, "this is not a matter of where they live and where we live". He went on to say that everyone in his nation must unite to face this crisis.
This is true for all of us: it is not a matter of where they live and where we live. All of us need to unite with our brothers and sisters in Japan, as we have done for others in the past, to face this crisis, to help one another, to lend a hand, even if we feel small and helpless and like our tiny contribution won't make a difference.
Help us to show our love, by being kind and good, we pray.
For a list of ways you can help the people of Japan, click here.