Humanity and Our Gift



care4japan.orgIt was a typical Friday night as I was tinkering around on Twitter while my son slept peacefully. It was getting late and I was ready to head off to the land of make believe when I saw the tweets starting to come in. An earthquake in Japan. The tweets started to roll as each minute went by but it was getting so late and I was fading fast. I do not recall what caught my eye, but I got up, found the clicker and put on the tv as I was curious. There was live coverage of an earthquake? Seemed strange. I then witnessed one of the  most horrifying events I had ever seen. I watched the aerial live coverage of the tsunami unfolding. As I watched I was frozen as I knew that there would be thousands of fatalities as water of that magnitude takes everything in its path.

I have had a house fire, watched a tree fall in my house during hurricane David, saw a tornado whiz past my office, been in way too many blizzards, rolled off my bed in a small earthquake in Vegas (I used to sleep on the edge with my foot hanging off, now, I curl up in the middle), saw a pick up truck go over a guard rail and plunge 8 feet and land roughly 10-20 feet away from my Miata,  and lastly flash flooding that necessitated air lifting rescues and that moved a fire truck down the street as if was a piece of paper but, none of those events that I have been in or witnessed compared to what I was seeing that evening. I remember being woken up at 5ish am on 9/11 by one of my friends in NJ with such a shrill in their voice that when I put the tv on and saw the 2nd plane go into the Tower, I screamed  NO!!!!!!!! and fell on my knees. That same horror engulfed me. I felt helpless. I was so worried about the men and women trapped on the airport control tower. I wanted to rescue them.


We lived through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and of course while still, even 10 years later difficult to talk about, 9/11. We know what we felt and how we wanted to do something. The people in Japan are deprived of housing, food and water. We can help. They may live so far away but our compassion for people and their struggles to have water, a bathroom, a shower and clean clothes, things we never think about has to resonate. We complain when we have a power outage for a few hours, we complain when our hot water heater goes in the fritz, and we complain when Facebook is down. Imagine having no idea when you will have plentiful drinking water, when power will be restored, when you will be able to take a shower or a flushing toilet, a washing machine and dryer or more clothes than what is on your back.

If you can for one minute think about being stripped of all that you knew, losing family members, losing your  home, your memories in photos, having nothing more than the clothes on your back and having no idea when you will have the simple things we take for granted, like walking into the bathroom and having a bar of soap, a toothbrush, a hair brush. Walking into a bedroom with a bed, a light switch, an alarm clock. Look at all you have and while sometimes it does not seem like much, it is so much more than thousands of people in Japan have.

How You Can Make A Difference

You can make a difference by taking a moment when you go to buy that $4  coffee and think of how you got there, where you came from, the clothes you have on. Suddenly it becomes clear, that java is something you “need” but yet in the grand scheme of it all, you really do not. You can make a pot at home or at the office (ok so it may be nasty but it gives you a taste for not having).

You can make a difference in giving. Over the next week (from April 2nd to the 9th) there is an opportunity to give but yet at the same time connect to others on Facebook and Twitter. The commonality of being a part of something matters. In social media, we always hear and say “I do not know what to say” or “no-one responds to me” well you have something to talk about and get others involved. Care4Japan on Facebook or – and give and then get involved of the week long twitter chat with #care4japan.

This is my plea from having nothing more than the clothes on my back so I know, but I had families that cared, let’s be that family that cares.

  • Suzanne,

    These post are what make you special. It is great that people can give to their preference. In my case I am so close and have so many friends going to Haiti to still try to get things up to par I really have committed any donations to Haiti. I have seen the suffering and issues that have continued more than a year after that disastrous earthquake.

    I guess at the end of the day it takes people like me and you who have had only the shirt on their back to make others donate.

    • Raul

      Thank you for your kind words. I just watched a special on PBS yesterday and saw how much of the coastal towns are gone, there is nothing. Rebuilding is so far away that right now just the clean up will take months if not years. While Japan is a rich country there is no way they can do this alone. Haiti … a very poor country still needs our help.

      I guess when you are right, when you have had nothing, you tend to be more apt to give and lend a hand as we have been there, we know how it feels and the thought of anyone else going through it, makes us take action.