Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Heart Aches for Japan

My heart aches for Japan. I can’t think of another way of putting it.

I can’t even imagine what it must be like. As a mom, I think of the children who lost everything. Their homes. Their pets. Their toys. Even people, whose faces they now remember. Then I think of those to whom change is never an easy thing. And now their world is turned upside down, with each day’s promise of improvement anything but set in stone.

As an artist, all this emotion welled up into a work, which I just can’t seem to finish. And maybe there’s a reason for that. My knowledge of the heart wrenching disaster is based on what I read and images I see in my own country, way on the other side of the Pacific. Towns leveled. Water damage that reminds me of our Katrina, which blooms and grows, even though the tides have receded. And now radioactive everything in certain parts, whose story is still unfolding. In other words, the situation in Japan is far from over.

Our Hearts Go Out
As much as we hear the news, one thing I’m not really hearing about are different ways we can all help. Our country has shown fundraisers on television hosted by celebrities, and politicians have made strong cases for citizens to do what they can for other disasters at home and abroad, but I’m not hearing much about how we can help for this one. And that bothers me. But, again, it could be my crazy busy life and I’m just missing it.

Sure, we can all “write a check,” but not everyone is in a position to do that. And even if some of us are, we may not want to give money but something more tangible, instead.

If you know me, I truly hesitate to endorse much of anything like this. And, let’s face it, our taste for giving money to charities is souring, as it sometimes appears that much of what we give seems to go to the organization first, others second, especially whenever it's reported that a CEO of a high profile non-profit rakes in more than we’ll ever see. In other words, we want to help where and how we know it will make a difference.

A tweet from Fons and Porter energized me to type something up about this, and provided me with an idea to share. Apparently, Quilters Newsletter magazine is also “friends” with Patchwork Tsushin, a Japanese quilting magazine. Patchwork Tsushin is collecting quilts for Japan, and those living outside can participate as well. (Click on the link for more information.)

Another place to help, recommended to me by my good friend, and one of the bloggers at “We Know Stuff”, involves donating shoes – new or used – through Soles for Souls.

These are only two ways we can do something besides wishing there was something we could do. And I'm sure there are more, which I hope others will find and share.

And, sure, donating money does help, as there are needs that a container or two from our country will not be able to meet. But I’ll leave that up to you to find and decide the best way to do that.

Come to think about it, I may never “finish” that Art Quilt, after all. It is acting as a reminder that once the news moves on to the next story, Japan will still be rebuilding towns, homes and lives. And is it such a bad thing to have a visual reminder not to forget? To remember? That we are all bound together, and to remember to take care of one another, even after the evening news fades to black?

Wishing much peace, help, hope and healing for us all.

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