I’m 23 years old and in my life I have been to 13 funerals. 7-pre teen and 6-teen till well, now. I am not a stranger to hardship both internally and externally. Since my last funeral I told myself that, ‘I refused to go to any more unless they were family’ and since then I’ve lost 4 other people from my graduating high school class. I couldn’t go. I’m not sure if my number of funerals is higher or lower than most people, but I do know how numb it’s made me. I feel like in the topic of death, sickness, and accidents…. my brain just shuts off. It’s not even so much that I am hiding my feelings I just don’t have any. I think it was a coping mechanism of sorts to keep me from the sadness or grieving. But now only every once in awhile can I really find that place inside of me where all those feelings went and still are. I still have questions, I still have sadness, and I still have grief.
Tonight I watched a movie called ‘Listen To Your Heart’. It brought out these emotions that where already stirring inside of me for the past week. A little over a week ago, on March 11th I woke up to hear about the earthquake in Japan. One of my childhood friends was teaching there in Sendai. My thoughts went immediately to her and I began to panic, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t focus, I wanted to cry. I in panic called my Mom, because that’s still what I do when I’m panicking. She tried to calm me down but also become very worried herself. I shortly found out that my friend was okay- amazingly and even later found out all of her students were okay as well. The school was still standing, and within one week she was on a flight back to the US.
This past week has been so emotionally hard for me, and I hate to say that because I am here, comfortable, going to my job, eating whatever I want, and taking as many showers as I want * with hot water, I’ve had a bed, movies, internet that works etc. But, this week has been so hard for me because it brought up all the fear, sadness and questions I’ve kept somewhere inside. The thought of losing someone who was actually so important in me being who I am right now was unimaginable. Even more unimaginable was the realization that I haven’t been living with that purpose. The purpose of accepting that people hold that much value, that people are actually priceless.
While I chose not to feel, I chose not to connect with something that is so human. While I think of all the deaths that I have … lived through? I rack up the points on the external side of my dilemma. As I mentioned I have several internal hardships where I can distinctly remember telling myself “I will never feel this way ever again”. And for the most part, I haven’t. It was on the rare occasion that I did allow myself to have those feelings of sadness over another person or circumstance.
This week has changed that, as lost as whatever hope I had was, my hope is back.
However distant I kept my love and fear of love for others, my love is full.
However hidden I pushed my sadness, my sadness is here.
However distant I made myself, I am not.
My friend was in Sendai Japan, and she is okay. The building she was is in is still standing, and all of her students are accounted for. How can that be chance? If you have watched any footage or seen any of the pictures from Japan, I think you can understand my joy that she is home and on these circumstances.
This dilemma of trying to brave, of trying to act mature I am done with you. The world is such a beautiful place that is so full of heartache and I have been robbing myself of the chance to fully experience that. So in my tears and in my sadness and in my joy; I am living. My circumstance may not be ideal but my hope is in people, real people. My love is for people, real people. I only wish there were more real people out there.
For I am so grieved at the thought that someone for the past week could operate all day not thinking about the people in Japan, or Libya for that matter. Like I mentioned in a previous post- we in our culture care more about celebrities, more about material items, more about social media, more about trying to be trendy than we do about people. That makes my heart hurt, and for so long I have chosen to only look at people like this with cynicism. Cynicism never helped anyone it only gave me more reason not to feel.
So while I am overjoyed with this news, I am saddened for Japan, for Libya I am so grieved at the cultural concern of our nation. I feel as though that here where I am, I am for the most part surrounded by people who pray, but don’t act; people who talk but don’t give, and people who post to get likes and not people who care.
Thanks for listening, whoever is out there. While my heart is still heavy it is lighter knowing I got my words out. Out of my head, and out of my heart I can only hope they stir in you the compassion for others, the want to help, the want to act.
Here are some links to help support both Japan and Libya