Last Thoughts of the Year 2010 December 31, 2010Posted by Matsu in Friends, History, News, News and politics, Other, Random, WordPress.
add a comment
Exactly one year ago at this time (on New Year’s Eve, almost down to the same minute), I wrote, “This will be my last blog post of the year 2009. And, if it wasn’t for the WordPress App on my iPhone, I wouldn’t be able to submit and publish this last post because where I am I can’t use my laptop and there is no WiFi network or Internet access. This is all being done with my iPhone.”
In terms of my situation this evening, New Years Eve of 2010, not much has changed since last year. But, a LOT has happened this year. A LOT has changed, for me and for many others all across the world, but especially in Haiti. I’ll say more about that in a minute. Before I do that, I want to assess how I did on my New Year’s resolution.
It seemed like it was just yesterday, but it was a full year ago when I resolved to do something very specific. Since you probably don’t remember, let me remind you what I said… “I resolve to be a kinder and more understanding person who takes time to help others and encourage everyone I come into contact with.”
And, as you might remember, before I could even post that entry to my blog, I was tested. It was a small test, but a test none the less. A total stranger staying at the neighbor’s cabin stopped by to ask for a roll of toilet paper. I had my first opportunity to help someone I didn’t know. And, as you might guess, I passed that first test with flying colors. So, that was the start of my new year — the year 2010.
Little did I know what was to transpire less than two weeks later. On that day, as I was driving home from work, I was listening to the radio — the news was on — and I heard the first report that a severe earthquake had hit the island nation of Haiti. It had only happened minutes before, so there was very little information other than it caused significant damage.
A grade school friend of mine lives in Haiti, with his wife and two children. I immediately worried about their well being, not knowing if they were affected by the quake or not. When I arrived at home, I began nearly a week-long vigil of watching as much TV news as I could, constantly checking the Internet for even more current information, and searching Facebook for news of my friends. It was almost 24 hours before I heard from my friends. They had survived. Their house was intact. But, The city of Port-au-Prince, where they lived, was annihilated.
In those first hours after the quake there was no information as to the scope of the damage since communication lines were all down in Haiti. Eventually, information began to trickle out… the news was devastating… thousands and thousands of people were killed instantly as buildings collapsed. It was unknown how many were still alive, but buried in the rubble. For days and even weeks, rescuers tried to save all they could find in fallen hotels and grocery stores where there were people who were able to survive the quake in air pockets. There were some amazing stories of a few survivors who were recovered, but far too many stories of people who did not make it.
All that happened on January 12, 2010. The day a nation of strangers will never forget as it changed their lives, forever. And, possibly, changed the country of Haiti forever.
I have done everything I can to help the few strangers from Haiti that I could (through multiple donations of funds) and I did everything I could to help my friend and his family this year. I am glad to say, they are all doing well and are continuing their work in Haiti. For that, I am grateful to God.
For me, the year of 2010 will be remembered as a year of testing my resolve to help others, both friends and strangers. It was a year of challenges, not just for me, but for a whole nation of people that I did not know, but who I grieved for and desperately want to help, even now. Their lives, those of the Haitian people, have not improved much since the earthquake nearly a year ago. There is still much that must be done to restore the infrastructure and rebuild the cities. And, the possibility of disease is always near, with cholera being the current danger as it works its way through the country and into the tent cities.
Just as I wrote last year, I write again that “this has been an especially difficult year for many people.” Only, I was surprised to find that not only was I able to help strangers and friends this year, but I was in turn helped BY strangers and friends. In fact, because of that help, this has been one of the best years I have had in a long, long time. That help was a direct result of my reaching out and helping others. It’s amazing how that works. And, how unexpected it was. As a person of faith, I must give credit to God, and thank Him for what He has done this year. It was a very difficult year and it was full of times of both great suffering and great joy. What a paradox.
Like last year, I once again challenge you, dear reader, to look for opportunities to help someone, whether it be a friend or stranger. Only, I ask you to go a little further this year and remember the people of Haiti. They are still living without the most basic of essentials, like clean water and a roof over their heads when they sleep at night. It will take all of us, working together, to make a difference for that nation of strangers. I accept the challenge and ask that you join me in what may seem to be an impossible quest. But, if you help just one stranger, it will make a difference for us all. It will make this world a better place for everyone. And, that is my wish this year. That we all make this world a better place by doing the right thing and helping others, sharing what we have with strangers. No matter how little you have, you can always help in some way, to alleviate pain and suffering of others. That’s what I resolve to do this year, both here where I live and abroad, in Haiti.
Good bye, 2010! Welcome the year 2011!
Happy New Year, everyone! Make the most of every day to help others.
Random Act Of Christmas November 28, 2010Posted by Matsu in Christmas, Friends, Fun, Music, Religion.
add a comment
A close friend told me about this amazing event and when I watched it I had to shared the video recording of it with all of you.
It’s a recording of the Philadelphia Opera Company and a LOT of volunteer choirs meeting up, flash mob style, at the Macy’s department store to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Watch it. It will start to put you in the mood for Christmas.
Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving November 25, 2010Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends.
Thanksgiving is a day of remembrance. A day to remember the past year’s events. A day to remember the people in your life — family and friends. A day to thank God for what he has done and the many blessings he has given us.
Sure, Thanksgiving is often associated with food and eating, but the real reason for the food is to celebrate, with the people who gather with you around that Thanksgiving table, all of the blessings that we have received throughout the year. Granted, not all of your family or friends may be with you on Thanksgiving Day, but you certainly are aware of them and are no less thankful for them in their absence – possibly more thankful because they are absent. That is certainly true in my case — both for family members and for close friends who are not here.
On this Thanksgiving Day I have much to be thankful for — more than I deserve. Much more than I would have expected. A lot has happened this year, not all of it good nor pleasant, but the lion share has been very good. I have no reason to complain and have every reason to be thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Failure to Post November 21, 2010Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends, Other, Random, Weblog.
I feel like I should begin with that confession as it has been far too long since I have logged into my blog site, much less posted anything new. I almost feel guilty about it, not because I have something important to say that the world has missed out on reading or learning about, but instead because of the number of visits I get each day — far more than I would have ever expected. It’s embarrassing that I am not providing new content for the many readers who check in from time to time.
I have failed to keep up a reliable schedule of posting new content the past couple of years for several reasons, but mostly it’s because of a sharp increase in all that I must do at work (both reading and writing) and a significant change in my personal life. Ironically, it seems that while I have pulled away from this blog site (neglecting my responsibilities for its care and feeding), I have done the same thing with many of my other relationships. It is almost like I have had a case of Rip Van Winkle — only I’ve been sleepwalking through life, instead of sleeping under a tree in the woods.
Right now I have 23 different blog posts in various stages of pre-post drafts. All of them are from this year. That’s 23 blog posts I’ve started but not finished and published. For some reason I just wasn’t ready or wasn’t willing to post them. It’s time I change that. It’s time for me to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s time for me to reengage life. I think I’m ready. At least I am ready to try.
Hello, world. Today is a good day to be alive. And, to my readers, I’ll be back very soon. Much sooner than four months from now.
A mature perspective on aging February 28, 2009Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends, Other, Random.
1 comment so far
This is my birthday month. I was so busy (as was everyone else I know), I did not do anything on my birthday. Birthdays become less and less celebrated as I get older. As I look back on this month I am aware of two things. First, I didn’t do much writing on my blog (well, I didn’t do any writing, at least not here – all of my writing energies went to a huge writing project at work). And, second, I do not feel as old as I am.
Each year I get older. Yet, as time passes I do not feel old or even older. I realize that I am not as energetic as I used to be when I was twenty years old. And, I do not remember things as sharply as I used to when I was thirty. But, I really do feel pretty much the same as I did when I was in my twenties and thirties. I feel like I could be in my twenties or thirties.
This feeling is not all bad. And, I should confirm that it’s not a case of denial. I am simply saying that I feel like I am just as young as I have always been and not any older than I was 20 or 30 years ago. My body is obviously older. But my mind and soul feels the same. And, I do not consider people who are 5 or 10 years older than I am to be all that old. I almost think of them as young. That’s what happens as you get up in years. Those “old” people who are 30 or 40 no longer look old. In fact, as you pass through those years, they become younger and younger.
I can’t wait until I turn 70. Then I will finally begin to feel like I’m growing up! Now, I’d better figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
See your reflection in others July 2, 2008Posted by Matsu in Family, Friends, History, Humor, Japan, Photography, Weblog.
In the past several years I’ve worked with a person who has brought into focus the amount of influence my upbringing has affected my personality and character. I grew up in Japan. In fact, I spent most of the first 18 years of my life there, with the exception of three times when we lived in America for a year each time while on furlough. Well, the oriental influence on me is inescapable. And, this co-worker has been like a highly reflective mirror and given me a better view of myself and how I’ve been shaped by the oriental influences of my childhood.
One of the characteristics of oriental society is subtle communication. So, when I saw this photo posted on the Kyoto Daily Photo blog, I laughed out loud. It typifies how subtle the Japanese people can be, and by extension, how I am at times. The theme for the July 1st daily photo blog photos is “no.” The assignment is to take photos of signs that say “no” or “not permitted.” So, the photo of a walking path of large stepping stones with a single smaller stone sitting atop the first step means, “do not enter,” in the social language of Japan. That is a wonderful example of how small and subtle communication is in Japan — and while it’s subtle, I find it also to be crystal clear and almost obvious. But, that’s just because I think in those same terms.
So, thank you Bert for giving me a better view of myself and through that awareness, making this photograph that much more meaningful and amusing.
Disclaimer: The photo used in this post has nothing to do with the Kyoto Daily Photo blog. I wanted to use the stone path photo, but I didn’t have permission. Therefore, I found a good friend’s photo on the Wilmore Daily Photo blog site and used it without his permission. Hey, what is a friend going to do, sue me? Oh, oh! He seems to be tight with the local police. Maybe I should reconsider my attititude!