I had big plans for the blog this week. Nick left on a 10-day trip to the Maldives, and while he's gone I usually capitalize on the extra writing time to catch up on topics I've missed. I was going to tell you about a couple of dives we went on together recently and show you some awesome eel pictures. I was going to catch you up on the rummage sale I have been organizing for the youth service trip to Manila, one that has all but changed my job description from youth director to furniture dealer. And I was finally going to blog about our herb garden, one of my favorite things about our home here. But then the earthquake happened. And then the tsunami happened. And then the potential nuclear meltdown happened. And after that I just couldn't get as excited about parsley and dill.
Right now American military families in Japan are in limbo as a military assisted voluntary evacuation is in progress. Coast Guard families from Japan arrived in Guam last night to wait out the radiation uncertainty. Mary's friend Mari writes of the horrible decision she had to make... whether to wait for her husband, a helicopter pilot, to come back home from assisting relief efforts, or to leave Tokyo for the States in order to protect their unborn child from radiation. She decided to go, even though she may not see her husband again for 6+ months if he deploys before she gets back. And this, of course, is just the side of the story affecting Americans.
In addition to Japan's utter devastation, CNN is telling of protests in Bahrain, where my friend Mary's in-laws are stationed. And just now I watched Obama's televised address announcing strikes on Libya. A third war. Awesome. Also this week I found out my best friend's husband leaves in a few weeks for a 10-month deployment to a not so awesome place, and two days later I received the joyful news that their child was born, a few weeks early, but thankfully, healthy and beautiful. Our friend will be missing out on most of his son's first year of life.
So I'm sure many of you have felt this too, that it's been a big week. A big, serious week. And I find it no coincidence that this same week my Bible study started a new study, one I have done two other times with the girls in San Diego. It's a study on the book of Ecclesiastes, a text written by King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live. Unlike most books of the Bible, which tell a story or detail a turn of events, Ecclesiastes is written more like a journal entry, which I think is why I like it so much. Today it could even be like one long ranting blog post pondering what exactly is the meaning of life and how can there be a God in control of all of this when there is so much suffering and turmoil? It's a great reminder that we don't have to have all of the answers or understand why things happen. We can only control ourselves. And knowing that, our task at hand is simply to seek God's will for our lives, stay poised for when trials come, and enjoy ourselves while we are here ("Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die...").
So now that I've cleared the air, I feel better about going back to filling you in on all the wonderful life being lived out here on this island. I know our resilient and patient neighbors to the north will one day recover from this tragedy. And nations will continue to live in political uncertainty long after smoke settles over Libya. And my friend's husband will come home from deployment and pick right up where he left off being a daddy. And so as things ebb and flow this way or that through uncertainty and stability, we must cling on to what we know, a reassurance that, as far as I can tell, can only be found in faith. For faith, after all, is "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (Hebrews 1:11). What a great gift to have confidence and hope amid so much uncertainty and turmoil. The mystery continues...