This morning all of us in Ishinomaki and in the greater Tohoku region were woken at 6:02 am by blaring sirens --the same ones used for serious tsunami warnings here-- and automated cell phone message alarms with the announcement that North Korea had fired a missile and it was headed our way. We were told to take necessary precautions -- to flee to a concrete building or underground location (did you know that we don't have any underground space in all of our city?).
After about 15 minutes, the news announced that the missile had broken into pieces in the Pacific Ocean on the eastern side of Hokkaido. Trains and buses in northern Japan had all been temporarily suspended; our local school sent out a notice that school would begin one hour later than normal. And then life went, seemingly, back to normal. We could all breathe easier, but the reality of the warning was not forgotten by anyone here today.
Nepal and Houston flooding, Charlottesville, Myanmar unrest, North Korea threats. We cannot go very far nor very long without being reminded of the reality our Nozomi team experienced in March 2011 - life is really fragile.
So today, we celebrate beauty as it shows up in the brokenness and uncertainty of each day.
We linger a little longer in the fields with our kids before the sun goes down.
We talk to our grown-up sisters and make sure they know how important they are.
We stand outside as the rain begins, just because we can.
We look across the table and listen to each other a little better than we did yesterday.
We say I love you to everyone we possibly can before we turn out the lights.
And we thank God for hope, which does not disappoint.