God said, "It's not good for the Man to be alone; I'll make him a helper, a companion." So God formed from the dirt of the ground all the animals of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the Man to see what he would name them. Whatever the Man called each living creature, that was its name. The Man named the cattle, named the birds of the air, named the wild animals; but he didn't find a suitable companion.God put the Man into a deep sleep. As he slept he removed one of his ribs and replaced it with flesh. God then used the rib that he had taken from the Man to make Woman and presented her to the Man.
The Man said,
"Finally! Bone of my bone,
flesh of my flesh!...
--Genesis 2: 18-23
|SURVIVAL: I have worn the string from my ceiling light around my wrist since I left Japan.|
On the very first Sunday that I lived in Japan back in April of 2010, I went to Asahi Mission Point. It was a small church full of kind and good-humored people. My experience there immediately linked me to that congregation and set the tone for my time in Japan. In fact, it was this group that I most wanted to introduce my "boss" to when he came to visit and it was with students from this church that I experienced the massive earthquake nearly a year later and this group with whom I both laughed and wept when it came time to say goodbye...
It is good to be a part of something that is based in love. It is good to have a family.
My SECOND Sunday in Japan, I attended worship at Sagamino Church and sat next to Satoh-sensei as he translated the message Miyai-sensei shared. The sermon that day was based on the passage of Genesis above. Not every Biblical translation explains the creation of Eve quite this way, and as I recall, Miyai-sensei explained it even better!! He focused on this idea of being a helper to one another and said that no one was meant to be alone and that, as Christians, we should try to reach out to people who are lonely and even to try to find a "helper" for them!
This idea both warmed my heart and caused me discomfort. I loved the notion that everyone needs to help and be helped; that everyone needs a companion--a partner... But... Did everyone look at me as a single woman and think that I "needed" a man? Was I considered "incomplete"? Would church members try to "set me up"? ...I felt embarrassed!!!
Still, this lesson stuck with me throughout my months in Japan. I admit, there were MANY times when I felt alone (and not in a good way.) There were many times when my family at Asahi and all the many adoptive parents, siblings, children, and even grandparents I acquired through my missionary responsibilities could not fill the void that was growing within me. Even having the support of so many people back home, somehow couldn't lessen the loneliness that was darkening the edges of my days.
Days shined bright and I continued to thrive in sooooooo many ways, but to face so many private struggles, surely was wearing away at my spirit without my notice!
And when the earthquake and tsunami came and the uncertainty of the nuclear situation loomed, I holed away in my apartment with no one to console or protect me...and I turned to God in desperation like I'd never known before. I prayed for comfort for everyone and safety. I prayed for the earth to be still. I prayed hard and without ceasing...but never for myself. I did not stop to let myself accept how truly scared and LONELY I was. ...I felt I couldn't bear it...
When it was suggested that I should come home, THAT was when reality crept in and I broke apart. I saw my pitiful self and I knew there was a family at home who loved me, and I wanted nothing more then than to be surrounded in that love.
And that is what I got! My sister and her partner and my mother and nephews and niece and brother and sister-in-law and closest friends SURROUNDED me. And when I needed to be alone, they left me...but not really. And when I needed to cry, they let me...but they held me. I felt the message of that passage in Genesis alive and well in and around me!
Being back in America has been as hard as you might imagine, and figuring out how to move through the world without a plan has been an unwelcome challenge, but one I'm starting to embrace. I look down at that lamp string I tied around my wrist over 9 months ago, and I think about the tragedy that happened on 3/11/11 and I think about my friends in Japan...and then I think about ME! And I think, "It isn't good to be alone like I was then...and now I'm NOT!"
I have a helper. I have a companion. And I have a WORLD full of people whom I could not love more.
This is a new beginning for me and I feel ready. Happy 2012, everyone!!
|A LITTLE HELP FROM MY (BOY)FRIEND: We make a great team! :)|