It is the individual stories that help us to better appreciate the larger picture of the loss and devastation of one year ago. Today I could not attend the Be One Hope for Japan remembrance in Osaka because Annie’s fever had spiked again, but Owen and Olivia went with our friends the Yamanes. I really missed getting to be there, and have just felt a heavy heart of prayer and sadness all day. Tonight after dinner the kids and I watched part of a special on television in which a father was interviewed who had made it safely to a hillside with his college-aged son when the tsunami came towards their home. But the son decided to race back to the house and try and save their family van. The whole time the dad is videoing, you can hear him calling his son, “Keisuke! Keisuke!” As the video shows the van backing out of the parking area, the tsunami rolls up to the house,, and the van is quickly overtaken by the waves. I realized our kids probably shouldn’t be watching it – I really didn’t know what would happen.
But then they showed the son in the car, where he managed to snap several photos as the water was coming in. And he said he heard his dad calling his name, and he knew for the sake of his dad he had to get out. Somehow he managed to get the door open, climbed up on the roof of the car and from there onto the roof of the car as the van slipped under the water and was swallowed by the waves. He said it was his dad calling his name that saved his life.
Eric today participated in two different Be One gatherings – one at the Be One house in the morning, and then in the afternoon a combined worship time and concert with several other church groups in the area. Immediately after that, he went over to Mrs. S.’s home to see how she was doing, hoping to catch her daughter and granddaughter before they returned to Tokyo. ( They had been at the temple earlier when he stopped by.) They were still there, and invited Eric in to dinner. Several other volunteer friends came as well. Throughout the time, Mrs. S. shared her story again– of the day-long trek it took to walk back to her home after the tsunami stranded her at the Ishinomaki train station. Getting home, discovering her daughter wasn’t home. Looking for her everywhere. Going to all the community centers where bodies were being displayed, and not finding her daughter. It was not until ONE MONTH later that she found her along the road of their house, a road she had walked many times over that month and never seen her.
As she shared, they all cried. and cried some more. At the end of dinner, Mrs. S. said how good it was to have friends who would listen. If it had just been her and her daughter they would have not talked about it; it was so much better to share their story.
So many people with stories that need to be shared. Over these last few days of stress in preparing to move, and not knowing where/how we are moving, I know I have lost perspective at times. Today has been a good day for me to remember why God is calling us. God used words from my husband to touch me.
As I shared in the previous post, we had been asked by our church to make a short video for today’s remembrance – we were excited to share with them a video that was being made by Asian Access. Staff had interviewed Eric and some Japanese pastors and were hoping to get that video out by today, but a couple of days ago I got word it wasn’t going to happen. So I worked last night and made our own homemade four minute video as a sad substitute. This afternoon, though, our friends Jeff and Loren were able to put together a short video of just Eric’s interview. (It is MUCH better than our homemade one- please watch this one!) But as I sat and watched this video of Eric (I hadn’t heard any of it before) he ends with one line: I’m really happy that our family has chosen what I consider to be God’s best. Just what I needed to remember. This move – it really is God’s best for our family. He will flesh it out as we go forth in faith. There are a lot more stories that need to be heard. And their stories will become an important part of all of our stories, as well.