Tsunami Candle-lit Vigil
When Sonali started talking, I recalled how it all played out on the news. First we heard there was a tsunami, then we heard about hundreds being killed. A few reports later, the number became thousands… the number just kept growing so fast I don’t think any of us could do anything but feel empty and helpless. A few hours later we started getting pictures and video and more and more stories… Manuri, Ann, and Dustin touched us with individual stories that we could relate and multiply in our hearts. Surviors’ lives give us strength.
I remember my uncle’s family was visiting Sri Lanka when it happened and it took a few hours to find out that they were OK. One of my grandmother’s distant cousins’ families that ran a convelacent home lost all of their patients. They were also separated from their young daughters for a couple days. I had the same feeling as when some terrorist attack happens or a new war starts up somewhere. But, like Sonali’s poems says, there was nobody to blame. It was a historical event that we will never forget. Staying connected to the pain and suffering that happened is the hard part.
One thing that impressed me was how people moblized. The next day I saw that locals were bagging up pots and pans, food and bottled water to send to nearby towns that had it the worst. Expatriots left their jobs and school to go back to help in anyway possible. People were rushing to help. People moved faster than governments; nobody stood still in shock. It’s interesting how lighting a candle has become a humane tradition. We see how it flickers and then gains a constant glow and warmth. Seeing people coming together with candles lit is very moving.
After we saw all the pictures of all the suffering and getting some motivation from Eranthi’s slide show, Sean’s speech was necessary. What caught me the most was how he said that we can never fathom what it is to say we lost 200,000 lives all at once. What really struck me was when he said that of the 11 little friends he worked with at a school, only 3 survived after Dec 26th, 2004.
I did take a moment to read some of the cards and those few words will go a long way. Also, Dustin’s message was very powerful about the banner he brought from Miller’s Children’s hospital. He said that even though the kids at Miller’s were sick, some with deathly illnesses, they found it in their hearts to send something that could help someone else that is suffering.
I thought it was kind of poetic when Elloise sang. She felt alittle shy and overwhelmed. But she couragously continued on. Seeing her friends rush up to be with her was awesome! She overcame it to sing for us, so that we could complete that night.
Here are the poems from that Night:
Child of Matara
Beloved child of Matara
Glaring at the sea in despair
Your eyes are consumed by its reflection
Longing for your motherâ€™s return
They say to you it is not possible
The raging wave cannot restore her to you
But you remain, your feet firmly planted in sand
Your youthful face beaten by the menacing sun
She calls out to you by name
Her voice a sweet condolence
Approaching above the buoyant ocean waves
You glimpse her tender face mirrored back
You say her touch will ease the ache within
She will come home on a borrowed vessel
Arms outstretched, with pangs of love for you
Until then, you will linger by the desolate tide
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The Grand Design
CALL MY NAME
(To the brotherhood lost to the tsunami)
If I could have answered your cry of woe
And bound toward to reach your hand
If your pangs of fear did reach my ear
Iâ€™d have given my life to see you stand
If Iâ€™d heeded to your piercing scream
And attended to your lifeless frame
It is then that Iâ€™d be laid to rest instead
If only you did call my name
If my ears did hear your bloody bellow
And your fearful cry did signal too
My feet would have been swift to your aid
And my life would be in place of you
I cannot now reverse your fate
I must endure my inner-shame
For your eyes did convey your sorrow
And I answered not when you called my name
Gift from the Other Side
He said, “little child,
why do you cry?
We saw you crying
from the other side,
they couldn’t come;
the water’s too wild
‘Cause I could cross over,
so they sent only me.”
“why did it have to be?
It just didn’t have to be…”
They could’ve just let me be.
Then I saw his empty hand
open, and I saw that
they do understand.
That’s all that it takes
for me to take His hand
for me to get up and stand.
Don’t look so sad
you’ve been through a lot.
Don’t look so sad,
We both know It is never really over
and this world keeps on turning
let’s just be thankful
we’ve had this time to spend
and be together
Why are there Oceans? Why is there Pain?
I wake up every morning
to my same bullshit–
the sun’s still rising,
& my 4 corner room’s still dimly lit.
Every day is the same,
time and again;
I stumble out of bed
and fall into my reins.
Nations are seperated
by mountains and seas.
There’s much work to be done,
we must know.
Everywhere there’s much dis-ease.Â Â
We can still see it alittle,
wondering “why it be?”
Yesterday, I saw a seagull–
feathers all oily walking on one leg.
What if… that was me?
But there were some days,
I do recall,
We all stood still, one and all.
The day the ocean raged,
We all looked at our TVs
and wondered “what if that was me?”.
Dec 26th, I felt sad
for the mom and dad,
their little daughter dead,
CNN showed a picture of her little shoes
On that day, I realized and cried
for the lonely nameless homeless dude,
lost long ago,
though I didn’t recognize him
til his bloated dead body washed up
on the evening news.
We can’t forget, A few weeks later
the earth shook in Pakistan
We’re still digging out bodies
just like the ones washed out to sea.
Was it only a few years ago
that the towers fell?
Everybody here won’t forget.
Man made hate:
Nature’s worst regret.
Today, did I wake up
walking out the door
with the sun coming up
wondering why our Mother has oceans
but with a little understading
about why she bore pain?