Will there ever be a “normal” day of life on earth again, I wonder, as I watch and listen to the horrific news of lives lost and massive destruction of communities in the earthquake in Japan.  How is one supposed to react to these images that are almost too horrible to believe?  What can one person in another part of world really do to help stabilize all the tense energy in humanity right now?  What is a meaningful response to global grief?  And what do I do with my personal sense of deep sadness over these unfolding scenes of so many lives altered forever?

Today I vacuum and dust and clean my house.  While I do these simple everyday things, I am keenly aware that women, men, and children by the millions around the world have no home within which to claim such an ordinary moment.  That thought alone makes my day seem more sacred and precious than ever. So I clean and I pray; I reach out to all humanity through my faith.  Does this feel adequate?  No, it does not.  But it is at least one response that centers me again in my own life.

This week has reminded me again of how powerful the experience of grief really is, especially when it comes as a result of something so traumatic that we totally lose our sense of “normal”.  Whether the loss is personal or global in nature, grief can rip through our life like a tsunami and leave us feeling completely bereft of the grounding and soothing comfort of the familiar.  Doing simple things such as answering email, picking up around the house, calling a friend for lunch, or doing a load of laundry can help us regain focus and balance in times of bereavement.  They are life affirming to us.

And yes, the events in Japan remind me also that life on earth is fragile and temporary.  So I reach out to my family and friends across the country to remind them that I love them and think of them so often.  I can’t stop the world from turning or change from happening, but I can do some things each and every day to be more present and more connected to the life I have before me.

Wishing you a day of simple things and ordinary moments, treasured.