Monday, March 21, 2011
That Was The Week That Was
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!!!