I suspect that if I asked how many of you were thinking about/praying for/hoping for/concerned with the situation in Japan right now, everyone would raise their hand. It seems to me it's part of the human condition - to care about other people, even if we don't know them. It seems it's something we want for our children - to be able to empathize with others even when they themselves haven't endured such circumstances.
When we face situations of the magnitude of what has happened in Japan we are unable - as people and as people of faith - to pretend it away, to live as if it doesn't matter. Even when we aren't sure what we can do, still it consumes part of us, still it has an effect on us. Big things do that to us.
But meanwhile small things get our attention, too. While an entire country is suffering and I care about that, it's not the only thing that gets my attention or energy. Today I've put energy into worrying about my three-year-old who won't be able to eat all day in a couple weeks when he is scheduled for simple procedure (yes, at this point I'm more concerned with 8 waking hours of not eating than with the procedure itself). Today I've put energy into wondering if I'm doing the best job I can teaching my children about being kind to each other and others. Today I've even put energy into wondering if I'll ever get my overdue haircut scheduled.
When things like what happened in Japan happen, we are given perspective. We are reminded about how precious and how fleeting life can be. We are reminded about what really matters. We are also reminded about how precious our "usual" routine is.
And when pictures of the destruction in Japan flash before my eyes, I find that I feel somewhat guilty about the way I go on with my life, mostly as usual, even giving attention to worries like haircuts.
Yet, even as I recognize that guilt, I guess I also need to continue to be concerned with the usual, the routine, the mundane. I need to continue to believe in a future that means facing a day when my child can't eat in preparation for a simple surgery...a future that means that teaching kindness to my children is important...a future that even allows me to tend to my hair...a future than also means that I will find ways for myself and my children to respond to Japan, that we will hold the people of Japan in our hearts and prayers...a future that is hopeful for those children as well as for my own.
I guess this is what life is...big things and small things mingling together, getting our attention, coexisting, and all mattering.