Dear Genichiro, Masuko, your family, and all of Japan–
The sadness of the events Japanese people are experiencing since the Quakes and Tsunami on March 11 has washed across the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. In the midst of your feelings of grief, sorrow, and maybe even anger, your friends from far away places can offer so little by way of tangible relief–which in turn fills us with grief, sorrow, and, yes, even a bit of anger–we feel so helpless.
But two well-known characteristics of the Japanese people–their perseverance and their compassion for each other–provide a basis for believing–and hoping–that these crises and challenges will be met with vigor and, with time, overcome.
This morning, I read in the New York Times a short essay written by MITSUYOSHI NUMANO, professor of literature at the University of Tokyo (translated into English) about the power of hope. The title of his essay is “Beyond Expectations.” It is a beautiful piece about how humans can emerge and overcome through hope–when technology and science have failed us. May I share with you the last two paragraphs of his essay:
Every one of the images of the victims that we have seen on television has been gripping, but the one that has made the deepest impression on my heart is that of a little girl tearfully calling out for her missing mother. I believe in the purity of this girl’s heart more than I believe in the pledges of any politician, no matter how sincere. A cry of despair, to be sure, but also a sign of her unshakable will to face reality in its very harshest form.
And yet, in the end, what else is there for each of us to do but to keep on doing what we have been doing, as long and as hard as we can? From within the daily lives of each one of us, a small light of hope will begin to glow. This is what I want to believe. Would it be too much to say that a person’s ability to harbor such an unlikely belief in the power of hope is also something “beyond all expectation”?
We wish for you great strength and courage. We love; we believe; we hope.
The Melander family, Gene, Jackie, Jody, Leigh, and Lynn