Tuesday, March 15, 2011


{photo by Reuters}

At the time, I was 12 year old who was craving french fries more than anything else in the world. It had just started snowing, which for a girl from central California was neat for about the first 5 minutes, but now my fingers were frozen, and gosh, can we please just go find a McDonalds?

But our Japanese guides were watching expectantly, hopeful. And so the small group of us, middle school choir students from some cow-town half way across the world, launched into our best three-part harmony on the steps of a Buddhist temple in Kyoto:

sakura sakura
yayoi no sorawa
mi-watasu kagiri
kasumi ka
kumo ka
nioi zo izuru
izaya izaya
mini yukan

I was sure we were butchering the pronunciation, and yet the kind and smiling people stopped on the way to and from their devotions to listen, to nod, to sing along. It was in that moment that I fell in love with the people of Japan. And I forgot all about the french fries.

What's happened to their beautiful country in the aftermath of the massive earthquake is heartbreaking. In times like this, the desire you might feel to reach out can be swallowed whole by feelings of ineptitude, thoughts that you are incapable of making any true difference, that anything you might have to offer won't make a dent. I tend to have those feelings when faced with mass tragedies such as this.

I pray. And yes, many of us believe that those prayers do good, but I would encourage all of us, whether praying or not, to use whatever tangible gifts we have been blessed with to help in times like this. For many of us, our means are not great. But right now the little bit that we do have makes us far richer than those in Japan who need our help. When I feel dwarfed by a cause, I always ask myself the same question:

Why do nothing, just because you can't do everything?

My "little bit" can be added to all of the other little bits, and soon it becomes something big. I think I'll give it a go.

You can use this linked image to find an established charity in Japan through charitynavigator.org:


Elizabeth {e tells tales} said...

Love this: Why do nothing, just because you can't do everything?

It's why so much doesn't get done. Keeping that one stored away.

Mrs. Dr. D said...

I was asked that question for the first time in my environmental ethics class in college, and it's stuck with me ever since :)

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