When I taught my kids to count, we started with 1 then slowly worked our way up to 10.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!
It was always a big deal to get to 10. Ten is a big number, double digits and all. And as we cruised past 10 to all the other double digits, every number was significant. I can still remember when each of my little ones would reach 20 for the first time. At their young age, 20 was an even bigger number. A number so full of other numbers it was too hard to understand what it really meant to be 20.
In the aftermath of the tsunami, I feel like one of my kids learning to count. Over 26,000 lives gone. In a terrifying instant. Thousands more hurt or lost forever.
Who counts to 26,000? Can I understand the significance of that number? I hear it on the news. I see the terrible destruction in the horrifying footage. I know what it feels like when someone you love dies.
But 26,000 sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends....strangers. All at once.
I have been trying to write this damn post for two weeks. And I can't get any further. I want to express with words how affected I've been by the tsunami and so much heartache in Japan. And I can't. I want to be profound, deep, and insightful. I've been trying to write something with a conclusion, something with a point.
But as a dear friend pointed out to me today, there is no way to wrap this up in neat little post. It is heart-breaking, ugly, terrifying, unthinkable.
Maybe all I want is to acknowledge those lives. Acknowledge the loss. I don't want to be hardened by the news and move on to the next current event, forgetting what happened to the Japanese people.
So I think my point is this. Take a moment. Think about the communities lost. Honor the people whose lives were taken so abruptly. For those left behind still searching for someone they love. If you can, give. If you can't, just remember, even if just for a moment. Have a moment of silence with your kids. Pray that those who survived are given the strength to move forward.
And hug fiercely those you love.