It has been quite a week to process. Here are a few of the things I’ve been learning –
–Continued Grief & Trauma: The day after 3/11, five of the Nozomi staff were absent… still themselves, or their family members, recovering emotionally from the difficult two-year anniversary of the disasters. During our staff meeting, I asked if it was a relief to them to have it behind them. I was met with puzzled stares. And they explained – it isn’t over. Every day now they are remembering what it was like two years ago on that day – the day after the day after that… Y. shared that her mother woke up that morning crying, remembering going out to look for her in all of the debris. One of the other members can barely handle remembering the not knowing for the next month if her son was alive or not, and then finding out he had died. So this week has continued to be somber for the women as they continue to remember.
I think that I’ve realized that the complete shocking nature of the tsunami (even after the warning sirens went off, most didn’t think it would really happen- all previous ones in recent memory had been false alarms), the extremely cold temperatures of both the air outside as well as the dirty tsunami water; the inability to prepare well or to contact people or to protect one’s family from these terrible conditions…. All of these factors serve to heighten the amount of PTSD and lengthen the grief and shock and pain that the people of Tohoku are suffering through. It really will be a long time….
–My own Inability to cope with things much lighter: This week our things from Sanda were supposed to arrive by truck to finally be unloaded into our new home! Even though the house inspection had been delayed a week or so, we were excited to get our things and get those things unpacked and ready for us to move in. We found out on Wednesday that you can’t move furniture into homes until the inspection is done (scheduled right now for March 26)…. So we will need to have the movers put everything into the unfinished house next door and then after the inspection carry it all out and into our home.
For some reason this news sent me into a tailspin. Now it just feels like one more setback; but at the time it felt beyond me. I had told a friend that there have been parts of this year where I have felt like a rubber band being pulled further and further apart; for a day or so this week I wondered if it might be snapping time. I was emotionally drained from four intense days around 3/11, from other issues going on in recent months; from “temporary living” and the energy it takes to create a new kind of normal for our family… We had started boxing up our current home about a month ago, and for those couple of days I just wanted NORMAL!
I could only see the next week ahead; not the long-term great realities of moving into an amazing home. I was missing perspective, and down on myself about it all.
That next evening, our friends Chad and Jennifer, sensing (not too hard to read!) my anxiety, took our kids for the night so Eric and I could get out for the evening. They brought our kids back and got them in bed, cleaning up our kitchen in the process. But what brought the rubber band back from its tight stretch was the hug as we were leaving, the mutual tears, and the exact words of encouragement that I had so needed to hear over those two days. I felt loved and overstood – even in the midst of feeling so bad for overreacting. The Japanese proverb: “A kind word can warm three winter months” was proven true on Thursday evening.
–THE NEW HOUSE: The house is looking amazing. Really. We are blown away by the details and final touches going into it. We will post photos soon! Those who have been coordinating this have done so with no pain and many many headaches. Their work has been an amazing gift to us.
–I got a request a month ago or so from friends of Be One who were interested in coming up and making a video of the Nozomi Project. I had never met them and worried how the staff would perceive this. What I loved was their sensitivity and listening hearts as they came and became a part of what God is doing. They released the video a few days ago. I watched it the first time really embarrassed that I was in it so much! But I couldn’t believe the beauty and honesty of several of the staff who are interviewed; and in the midst of struggles to see an overview perspective of what God is doing was really wonderful. Here is a link if you’ve seen it yet:
Thank you, Joseph and Amy! You are so gifted; so gentle. You inspire us.
–our friend Hiroshi from Sanda is with us this weekend to help us move… We aren’t moving yet, but it’s been a special gift to have him help with the prep and be part of our lives.
–AN UNEXPECTED GIFT – I wrote on facebook that Friday was the 24th anniversary of my mom’s death. I shared how thankful I am for the different women God has brought into my life since then, and for my amazing three sisters. On Saturday when I had a meeting with my friend and coworker Yuko, she showed up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers…. Just to say that she was thankful for my Mom too because she brought me into the world and she’s thankful for my friendship. Another amazing, unexpected gift.