At every turn I have seen the results of the actions of Pandora, that young girl of mythology. Out of curiosity, she opened the box she had been severely warned to leave closed. In so doing she unleashed all the evils of the Earth. At the last minute she was able to close the lid on the box but in so doing, according to myth, she trapped the one thing man could not live without: hope.
But I have seen hope. I have seen hope in the eyes of the Japanese as they search for lost loved ones in the debris of the tsunami that devastated the entire countryside and wiped out entire villages. I have seen hope in the eyes of the elderly Japanese as they scan the scene for anything of their lives that still exists and to which they can cling as they work to rebuild. One old Japanese man was seen picking up litter near what had been his home in a vain attempt to return his life to the normalcy he had enjoyed just a few days earlier. Hope gave his eyes their last little bit of sparkle.
The tragedy is further reflected in the eyes of the very young Japanese children. Their eyes are looking out in utter disbelief at what has happened. Some are probably wondering where their parents or other family members are or a myriad of other sad questions.
The Japanese have been resilient in their efforts during these cold, snowy, dreary March days to rise above the debris that was their homes. There have been no scenes of looting, fighting or panic as they calmly stand in lines to receive whatever aid is being given to them in their darkest hour.
There have been no reports of any crimes against Japanese citizens or others during this whole debacle. They have been seen pitching in to help those who are there to help them. They want to be a part of the cleanup and restoration of their way of life. The outside help they receive is appreciated and surely needed, but they also are feeling the need to be a part of the restoration efforts. It is their problem and although their view is blurred by tears of sorrow, they are tenacious enough to plow through that in an effort to re-establish their lives as they knew them.
The malfunctioning of the nuclear reactors and the possible contamination of the countryside has caused further worry. This problem has added another dimension of concern to not just the Japanese people, but the world in general.
It is true that the Japanese were our enemies 60 years ago, and even Japanese people in our own country were maligned and mistreated as a result of the hostilities of World War II. But time heals all wounds and today the Japanese are one of our greatest allies. It is fitting that we help them in their hour of greatest need, but we also must realize that the Japanese are a very prideful people and they deserve our respect for their beliefs and traditions along this horrible road to bringing their country back to normalcy.
It is at times like these that two favorite lines of mine seem to be important. The first one is: This too shall pass. The second one is: From adversity comes excellence.
Like the mythical Phoenix, the Japanese will rise above the ashes of this tragedy and, for all we know, they will be better for it.
Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.