Monday, March 21, 2011

That Was The Week That Was

I have spent the past 10 days in a speechless state of horror, inspiration, heartache and renewed faith in humanity. We watched our former enemies from 65 years ago, now our friends and allies, as their nation was dealt blow after blow from the uneasy earth that lies beneath our feet.

I watched people who had lost families, homes and all their possessions reaching out to their neighbors, joining the rescue and recovery operations, whittling chopsticks and sharing what little they had with others. I watched brave people risking their lives trying to corral a nuclear monster before it could escape and wreak even more havoc than has already occurred.

One of the most poignant images, one I can't help but hold in my mind, is that of people desperately searching message boards in shelters,searching for the names of missing family members. Husbands, wives, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins...each, it seems, had someone searching for them except in that most horrible case where entire families were taken by the waters.

If ever the importance of blood kin was demonstrated, it was here, in this stricken nation with its stalwart people. NO ONE who has survived, so far, has been left behind or deemed less important than another. There has been no looting, no violence. There has been unbelievable courage, patience and charity. Stripped down to less than the bare essentials, people shared their fires, their blankets, what little rice they had and waited for help. And the joy on the faces of those who found their family members alive was transcendent. I shed tears of joy along with them.

It might be interesting to note that Japan, the third largest economy in the world, does NOT have an "adoption society." They take care of their own and family members see after their own flesh and blood when the need arises. I have already seen where salivating American PAPs are asking about orphaned, Japanese infants and toddlers. Not so fast, there, wannabes. The Japanese will FIRST make sure that every effort is made to find blood relatives of any child before they make any other moves. And they are not too keen on the idea of their children leaving their culture and home.

As winter passes and the fruit trees bloom, I am thinking of the reality of human need for the ties of blood. You can graft a limb from one orange tree onto another and that limb will still produce the kind of fruit from the tree from which it was taken. You cannot graft a baby onto another family and have it develop the traits of the adopters. I also know that the soil of Florida will not grow a cherry tree taken from Michigan. The tree will be stunted and the fruit sparse and of lower quality.

The Japanese people, like all other people, are not perfect. History boldly notes their mistakes. But when it comes to family and what constitutes a family and community, they have something in their culture that we would be wise to emulate.

So, as the bombs fall on Libya, and as the political and economic situations elsewhere roil and seethe, the people of Japan will mourn their lost, rejoice in their found and rebuild their lives.

And the blood family in the land of the rising sun will survive.

PS: This recent article had to be added to this post. Japan says "no thank you" to PAPs. YAY!!!


Lori said...

Robin, the one thing that I always admired about Japanese culture was their duty to family. Family is the foundation of human society, no matter where or what kind of people. I wish, seriously wish, that there were not ignorant American PAPs drooling in the wings, waiting for the babies that they believe will fly to them because "god" "fate" or whatever created this distruction. We humiliate ourselves each time this happens, our rapacious adopters swooping in and stealing, tearing and taking what is not theirs.... and they wonder why we are called the "ugly Americans."

Robin said...

Lori, I have often had that very same thought. If anyone wonders why Americans are disliked in so many places, we just have to look at our greed and arrogance for the answer.

Our Foster Family said...

Great post Robin. I am confident there will be no need for us to swoop in and relieve them of their orphans, I am sure they will have that under control. Thank goodness.

Von said...

Wonderful post with many truths.What is most ugly is the sense of entitlement to do these things.

Sandy Young said...

Today is the first morning this week that wasn't greeted by my brother's face. I miss him and his wife, mys sister and friend.

As I looked into his eyes and saw my father, my uncles, my mother, my own sons, and in his children and grandchildren whose pictures I saw, again reminded of myself, my own children and other relatives who are in other places or are gone. It was wonderful to share space, air and company with them again, something that used to be a daily occurrence, something taken for granted but now is infrequent and cherished.

The bonds of blood and the ties of kin matter. I knew that when I lost my son, and I know it now. I "recognize" my brother in ways that are part of my soul. To deny the fact that kin is important and family is where you find it and what you make, while comforting to some, to trivialize it for some other purpose is a dangerous proposition and one cannot help but wonder if there isn't a sinister underlying motive for doing it, since FAMILY is the foundation of our society, the base from which all other institutions draw their power, including our government, business and society itself.