Images of the inexorable mass of water and thick black backwash of suffering left me, like the rest of the world, disoriented. Betrayed. And I became uninterested in rivers, by association. They are water. However the earth’s “solid” mantle brings no guarantee either — its upheaval caused the wave.
I don’t like to fear that which I love. I want a God, a beloved, and a planet I can trust because those connections are sacred.
And yet. Every culture’s understanding of the sacred includes awe – that overwhelming blend of fear and admiration. This remains a mystery to me even as I remember what the river teaches about trust:
• We can trust a river to behave like a river (for example, it will flood about one out of every three years).
• We can trust that we’ll be alright no matter how the river behaves.
Both principles seem impossible to consider right now, except that there are other developments too. Stories of kindness and compassion emanate from Japan itself, even while the crisis continues to unfold. And the rest of the world focuses so much love in one direction. Awe-full.
PS — Most sources agree the Red Cross is the best bet philanthropically. You can use your cell phone to donate $10 to the American Red Cross’ s Japan Earthquake/Tsunami fund. Send a text to the number 90999. Your message should read REDCROSS. You’ll be charged on your cell bill; alternately, you can donate online at: http://american.redcross.org. Doctor Without Borders gets a lot of recommendations too.