I woke up this morning to the news about the devastating earthquake in Japan and simply could not believe the reports coming in! I would like to say my mind went immediately to the pain and suffering of the Japanese people or that I prayed instantly for their protection from the aftershocks. I didn't. My first thought went immediately to The Philippines and to Francis. Was his orphanage near the water? Were the tsunamis expected to hit there? What time was it in The Philippines?
I began to pray on the spot about all those questions. I searched online and found a map that relieved my fears - his region was not under threat from the tsunami and it appeared he would live to join our family.
My thoughts then went to our family members still living in PI and to our dear friends who, yesterday around the time the quake hit, were scheduled to be in the Tokyo airport heading back to the states with their newly adopted son. Prayers went up for all of these people as well. Finally, after pulling myself out of the tunnel of "how does this quake effect ME and the people I love", I realized my thoughts - even though they were thoughts for other people- were inherently selfish. I wondered if God even hears or honors prayers like mine? Many would probably eschew these notions and patronize me with statements about how natural it is to think of your own loved ones first. I am clearly disappointed in myself, though. It is often said that when your cup is shaken, what sloshes out reveals what was inside. In other words, under stress, the contents of the heart are revealed. My contents still don't think enough about people in faraway lands with lives, families, feelings, plans and dreams. They are mercurial and somewhat confined to the TV screen.
I'm not sure being consumed with compassion for unknown people comes naturally to anyone but I do know that it is what I will begin praying for this very day. I want my first reaction to tragic world events to be the desire to intercede for the people effected, not to run through a rolodex in my brain of ways the tragedy may impact ME. . . . Lord, LESS OF ME and MORE OF YOU!
Amen. . .