Thursday, March 17, 2011

Each year in grade school we had election of officers. Of course there were the glamorous positions of president, vice president, secretary and treasure. They all had the normal responsibilities someone in that office would be expected to fulfill. But, the office with the most important responsibility was fire Marshall. He or she got to go to a meeting in the principal’s office at the first of each month to decide when the fire drill would be for that month. That person also got to boss everyone, including the teacher, when the fire drill siren when off. I thought it would have been really cool to be the classroom fire Marshall. It was the bossing part I wanted to do, I’m quite sure.

Now the warning systems set in place in schools and in communities are a bit more sophisticated. This time of year tornado warnings are frequent. When we were in Mexico in the fall, the minute the hurricane warning was issued everyone jumped into action to prepare. Fortunately it by-passed us. We have flood warnings and fire warning we evacuate for. But, the one thing that hits without warning is an earthquake.

The only time I even got a hint of what an earthquake felt like was from a slight tremor when I was visiting California. Honestly I thought I had just had too much morning coffee, but the suddenness of it made me realize there is no warning. For one who has borderline control issues, that is an uneasy feeling.

The horrific destruction from the earthquake that hit Japan is mind boggling. They had no warning. Then the tsunami hit with short warning. The devastation and loss of life are more than I can wrap my brain around.

Watching the new reports and reading the different accounts are a bit overwhelming. My friend Jack asked the other day if I had noticed a thread running through all the reports. He went on to point out how calm the Japanese people seemed waiting for water and supplies in single file lines. When questioned some had been waiting for 2 days but answered they were sure they would have water in a little while. There was no looting, no shouting, no swearing at the government for not moving fast enough. There was no sense of entitlement, but of gratitude for help when it did arrive.

I’ve always heard if you want to see the true character of a person watch what spills out when he gets bumped. The Japanese people have not been bumped, but slammed and to watch what spills out of them is convicting to say the least.

Warning ... maybe we need to learn a thing or two.

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