I had really been at a loss with how to begin putting my thoughts and emotions into words about the current crisis in Japan until I saw this video. Even dogs in Japan embody grace in the midst of crisis. Grace was the first word that came to mind after watching news videos online. I looked up grace at dictionary.com and the first definition of grace describes, “elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action”. In the midst of immense destruction, I see grace.
I have seen parents holding their young children as they are being screened for radiation exposure. I see their grace, but I feel my own anger. I am miles and miles away and I am completely void of grace. I am angry. I was initially grief stricken by the news of the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, but my grief was very short lived as the nuclear disaster unfolded. I don’t sit well with grief. I am more comfortable with anger. Anger is motivating. Anger brings about action.
Germany has already shut down its oldest reactors. The EU has called for stress tests for the reactors throughout the region. But I live in a country still embracing nuclear power. Why do we as a global community continue to fool ourselves into thinking that we can manage and control the Earth? There will always be statistical outliers. Japan experienced one last week.
The doorbell rang as I was just starting dinner. Henrik was practicing his ukulele on the couch and I walked to the door with an egg in hand. A representative from our electric company wanted to know if we would like to switch to their Green Source renewable energy program. It had been our plan to sign up for this program when we moved to Portland, but as we have been in the red every month we have been here, I have cut costs wherever possible and have put off signing up for the program.
We bought a house with many energy saving features and we make conscious decisions every day to conserve resources. I felt torn about declining, but knew that we were mindful of our consumption. As I returned to the kitchen and cracked the egg into the bowl I realized how angry I was about the lack of renewable energy options we are offered in this country. I walked back to the front door, put on shoes and walked out to the sidewalk. I called out the woman, but she didn’t hear me. I went back in the house and debated about putting off signing up again, but, I was motivated by my anger.
I grabbed a jacket and got Henrik in a jacket and boots and we started walking down the street. We reached the end of our block and did not see the woman. The city bus left its stop at the intersection at the end of the next block and I thought we had lost her. We continued toward the intersection and found the woman leaving the last house on the block. I called out to her and we met up on the side of the street. I filled out the paperwork and Henrik stomped around in muddy puddles. One of the main reasons I signed up was because the renewable energy options did not include nuclear as a pseudo-green energy source. As we walked back home I actually felt less angry.
I am also motivated by my anger not to move, but to sit. I will sit with my anger and I will infuse some grace. I hope that the earthquake and tsunami survivors in Japan will soon find safety in their surroundings, that they will be able to experience their own grief and anger, and that they will be continue to embody such inspiring grace.