Since March 11 there have been hundreds of aftershocks. This is my seventh time visiting Japan and I might finally get to experience the earth rumble. I stole the word from Clinton Shi’s pre-departure facebook status: “All set and ready to rumble, I hope” It is not that I am looking forward to earthquakes or aftershocks but in all my previous visits, the earth had maintained a relative calm. The Bible speaks about a calm (peace) that passes all understanding.
Checking in at Changi International, I was greeted with the information from fellow peacemakers that the radiation levels at the Fukushima plant had been raised to the highest rating. That integrated into our understanding. While having lunch at Changi, the server inquired about our flight destination and upon knowing where we were heading for, continued with a response that she and her girlfriend had cancelled their trip to Japan because they were “afraid to die”. That was their understanding. In all my journeys to Japan, I have never seen the boarding gate area so empty. It seems we were the only Singaporeans going because “we were not afraid to die”. With the ample availability of empty seats, we had the luxury of creating our own “business class” space. Once a holiday heaven for singles, couples and families, human understanding is telling us that Japan is presently not safe.
The peace that the Bible speaks about goes beyond the understanding of mortals. It is not subjected to the presence or absence of rumblings. It is not subjected to the proximity of danger. It is a peace that comes from placing your trust in and thankfulness to the creator of heaven and earth. And in so doing, this peace “will guard your hearts and your minds”, says the Bible. Upon arriving in Tokyo, beyond the tranquility of the early morning and the beautiful spring weather that welcomed us, we felt such trust in and thankfulness for the peace within us. So, it wasn’t that we were not afraid to die. Who isn’t?
Next morning, a cherry blossom (sakura) tree greeted us outside our hotel. The tree stood with such a presence of peace in the midst of rumblings of the earth that surrounded it.
[The above is a post migrated from a previous blog]