Last Thursday was my birthday; a day, on which I had planned to celebrate me and my existence; a day which started out quite wonderfully, but which was seriously dampened at the end of the day by the news of the devastating earthquake off the coast of Japan. (Therefore, I’ll be saving my birthday recap for another day.)
J and I had just finished a fun movie night, when we switched to MSNBC and learned about the earthquake as it was unfolding.
I couldn’t help but feel incredibly silly and selfish for complaining about the fact that I couldn’t spend my birthday with my sister and the rest of the family, that there weren’t any friends close by to go out with, and that in general I just secretly wished for things that I couldn’t have on my birthday.
Many people in Japan, they might not even know where their friends and relatives are, they don’t know if they’re safe or even alive, which in turn made me incredible thankful for the fact that I at least know that my family and friends are safe and well.
I was glued to the TV into the early Friday morning hours and have been checking the news periodically over the weekend. The damage, the devastation, the hardship, the sheer destruction of this natural disaster-times-two is simply unfathomable. I am heartbroken for the people of Japan.
As a geologist, I am strangely fascinated and horrified at the same time by all natural disasters. Understanding the science behind it and being able to send out warnings and evacuate is so very important in order to save lives. We also forget that thousands of lives might have been spared because of the strict building codes and earthquake preparedness in Japan. Still, there will always be homes destroyed, lives lost and faith shattered.
Is it only me, or do you also feel that natural disasters are happening more frequently? It feels like we’re in a perpetual state of anticipation for the next shoe to drop. Sometimes I am afraid to turn on the news. But although images of disasters, violence and human hardship saturate our TV screens these days, I haven’t gone numb, but am always left emotionally devastated.
I always wonder: What’s next?