A year on from the tidal wave and there are still ripples – the effects linger on.
In church today we marked the fact that it was a year to the day since the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster. We spent some time remembering and praying for those who have been affected by it.
There are still many living in temporary housing and probably will be for a couple of years. Some were left with nothing. Some have houses that are still standing but they can’t go home due to dangerous radiation levels. Some are staying with family and so are not getting any help from the government even though there’s not enough space and they lost their livelihoods and loved ones.
There seems to be much grief and regret (eg. see this man’s story). One man wished he’d taken the day off work so he could’ve been with his wife to save her. Some are still looking for the bodies of their loved ones. Many are vainly hoping that the spirits of their deceased friends and family are still with them, around them.
We also spent some time in church remembering some of the things we so easily take for granted – bodies, clothes, food, a place to live, breath, life… None of these things do we deserve, we cannot demand them as a right. God gives them generously to us. We should be grateful and thank Him for them.
But even on a day like today, when I had been remembering those who have suffered so much, when I had been remembering all those many blessings we so easily take for granted, I’m ashamed by how easy it is for me to have an ungrateful, grumbling heart. I had to pick up some rubbish that was strewn over the car park (the crows had got at it!). I had to hack away some ice so cars could more easily get into the car park. I was tired. My back was sore. I was doing it because it was the right thing to do, but my attitude was terrible. I was inwardly grumbling and self-pitying. But none of my complaints was anything worth comparing to what so many people in the disaster region have been through and still live with today.
May we, and many more of those tsunami victims, cry with the Psalmist,
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Ps 57:1)
… and until even the ripples are gone.