The news portrayed images you can’t forget. A sea of cars washed away by a giant wave, a boat decapitated by a bridge, and houses enveloped within one second, without hesitation. The most striking of this montage was a woman who waved a white sheet on the top of her home which was surrounded by water.

It’s the part of the Japanese earthquake coverage that riveted me. What was her story? Did she get rescued? Were her children safe? What was she doing minutes before the earthquake? Will she rebuild again? How will she piece her life together again? And how will the thousands who are affected do the same?

With the impending potential chaos of the nuclear reactor, the massive wave of people washing lifeless on the shore, I am certainly at a loss, not knowing that kind of heartache and anxiety. I am in my suburban bubble, living in normalcy. It is definitely difficult for me to relate to a disaster of that magnitude.

I’m also reminded again about how geography defines us and how it governs our individual destinies. It is a part of life that I don’t understand, but respect. In the same vain, I will never understand what the people in Japan are going through, but a very large part me empathizes the tempo of their loss.

In honor of the victims, I will be bowing my head in silence for one minute. I realize it doesn’t solve the madness of their chaos, but it is a sign of respect. It is acknowledging that the world isn’t just about you, but about others too. It is my small way to honor the mothers, the fathers, the children, and the families who are no more. Won’t you do the same? There are some things we don’t understand. In the way I don’t understand the devastation, I also can’t quantify the power of collectively honoring those who have lost their lives by engaging in a moment of silence.

I’m hoping our collective silences may perpetuate a sense of goodwill and resilience for the people in Japan.


Do natural disasters make you think about your own life differently? How do you reconcile the normalcy of your life and the devastation in other parts of the world?

Image via Official US Navy