A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weeks. Long. Longer. Longest.


That was a rough one.

It seemed to me that many of my friends and colleagues watched the events in Japan with a combination of genuine compassion and morbid fascination.  After all, what was unfolding on television did not directly impact their lives. My perceptual filters were built of different stuff.  Most important to me, of course, were my firstborn child, my daughter-in-law and their unborn child, my first grandchild.
I've been trying to come up with an analogy for how I was feeling during this past week. The best I can do (and it's not a good one, I'll warn you) is to say that I felt like the passenger in a car.

I am a good driver.  I pay attention, I drive defensively.  (Actually, I'm more a paranoid than defensive driver).  I am a compassionate driver and learned a while back that in bumper-to-bumper situations, if I go just two mph slower than traffic, in a relatively short time a large space will form in front of my car.  A dozen cars will use that space to make their lane adjustments and - like magic - snarls untangle and traffic moves more smoothly.  (It's empowering.  Try it sometime.)  But my focus is on what's happening around me that might endanger my life and the lives of those around me.  I'm not paying close attention to what's happening on the other side of the safety barrier or even two lanes to my right.  I'm focused on what's happening that will threaten my safety.

I'm in control of the car and I am keeping it - and any loved ones with me - safe.

I suck as a passenger.  Relieved of the responsibility of focus, I am free to take in everything as far as my eye can see.  My tension builds as I sit witness to almost-accidents  a hundred yards ahead, skid marks from previous accidents riding the barrier, drivers all around me talking on their cell phones.  There's not a thing I can do but fret.

In Japan, my son and his family were in the driver's seat.  They worried, but they were in a position to take action. They were focused on getting good information, on supporting each other, and they were taking action when needed.  Just a passenger, I was bombarded with all the garbage the news media spewed my way.  Helpless as the car wrecks happened around me I could only sit in fear.

Happily, my wise son realized how I needed to see and hear for myself that they were OK.  Someone point me to the developer of Skype, please, so I can blow him/her a kiss.  Two hours last night of reassurance that my family is OK, is dealing, is safe.

It's a long way from being over, but I am calmer.  In better spirits.

I may even sleep tonight.

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