As traumatic as the Christchurch earthquake was for those of us who lived through it, it pales in comparison to what Japan is now suffering. Christchurch was “just” an earthquake, from what I can read on the internet, most of the devastation in Japan has been caused by the tsunami generated by their 8.9 magnitude quake offshore.
My feelings are rather subdued and muted. I’m saddened and concerned by the news I’ve read online, but I’m not experiencing the deep overwhelming grief and shock I did for tragedies closer to home. Given I’m still in recovery from the trauma of Christchurch I don’t think I could stay sane if I did.
I do however feel a sense of empathy for the Japanese people. Although our tragedy was on a much smaller scale, it was only 19 days ago that I was experiencing something similar to what they’re going through. There is a bond from shared experiences.
Many people have made encouraging comments to Canterbury praising the strength and resilience of New Zealanders. I would like to add that from what I can see, the Japanese are also a strong and courageous people. Let us hold hands together from the other end of the Pacific, and working as a team both our nations will recover together.
I know that even one week ago I was not able to pray coherently. Crying is a deep kind of prayer – a groaning in the spirit. When I was in that place it was helpful beyond words to know others around the country were praying for me. So now it’s my turn to be the one praying for others.
I pray for those injured or trapped, that they will be rescued and brought to safety. I pray for survivors who are traumatised and in shock. I pray that they will find comfort, a shoulder to cry on, someone to hug. I pray they will come through this, and find the light on the other side of the darkness, even though it will seem impossibly far away at the moment. I pray for rescue teams and emergency workers, that they would find the strength, courage and endurance they need.
And I pray that deep down in their spirits, the people in Japan will know in some way that they are being loved and supported by our thoughts and prayers.