The news is full of bulletins and talk, but the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan early Friday almost defies speech.
It is a nice illusion that our planet is stable. We choose to believe it and hope for it most of the time.
We accept and are comforted by the changes of the seasons and the rising and setting of the sun.
These things seem predictable. They’re not.
As the recent disasters in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan remind us, we are fragile beings on a planet ruled by the still-unpredictable forces of nature.
For those of us watching on our TVs, what happened in Japan is almost unimaginable. For those caught in it, it is all too real.
We who are continents and oceans away may be safe tonight but as Pascal wrote, “The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.”
With that said, let’s hope Japan — and any other parts of the world in peril — will be somehow affected by our prayers, in any language, in any religion, for their safety and healing.
An aerial view shows houses burning and the Natori river flooded over the surrounding area in Natori city, Miyagi Prefecture, March 11, 2011. 8.8 magnitude earthquake strikes in Tohoku area,, northern part of Japan, bringing tsunami,
a huge tidal wave covering Kesennuma port, Miyagi and Miyako port Iwate Prefecture.( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )