Gratitude in the Midst of Catastrophe

I received the spring issue of Thirty Thousand Days, the journal of the ToDo Institute, and found tears streaming down my face as I read the post-earthquake/post-tsunami reflections of Yuka Saionji, friend of the ToDo directors, who lives in Japan. I wanted to share some of those reflections with readers of our blog. Enjoy and pass along:

“Last night when I was walking home (since all traffic had stopped), I saw an old lady at a bakery shop. It was totally past their closing time, but she was giving out free bread. Even at times like this, people were trying to find what they can do, and it made my heart warm.”

“In the supermarket, where items of all the shelves fell, people were picking up things so neatly together, and then quietly stood in line to buy food. Instead of creating panic and buying as much as needed, they bought as little as they needed. I was proud to be Japanese.”

“When I was walking home, for 4 hours, there was a lady holding a sign that said, ‘Please use our toilet.’ They were opening their house for people to go to the restroom. It was hard not to tear up when I saw the warmth of people.”

“An old man at the evacuation shelter said, ‘What’s going to happen now?’ And then a young high school boy sitting next to him said, ‘Don’t worry! When we grow up, we will promise to fix it back!’ While saying this, he was rubbing the old man’s back. And when I was listening to that conversation, I felt hope. There is a bright future on the other side of this crisis.”

“At Disneyland, they were giving out candies. High school girls were taking so many I was thinking, ‘What???’ But then the next minute, they ran to the children in the evacuation place and handed it to them. That was a sweet gesture.”

“In Korea, a Japanese man got a cab ride and when it was time to pay, the driver refused and said: ‘You are Japanese, yes?’ Yes. ‘When you go back to Japan, please donate the fee.’ Beyond nationality or politics, we are all the same.”

In gratitude,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: "The World Becomes What You Teach"

Image courtesy of cheerytomato via Creative Commons.

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