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La Mer

Yesterday was such a horrific tragedy. My prayers are still with the people of Japan. Yet despite this tragedy, this morning I was reminded of something very positive. The Japanese people have faced this kind of destruction. Insurmountable destruction. They have faced these huge waves before and survived, rebuilt, and prospered.


The woodprint above is one of the most popular and wellknown of all Japanese woodprints. It depicts the great wave at Kanagawa, printed in 1831.  One day, the french Impressionist composer Debussy saw this woodprint and became inspired. What resulted from that spark was to become one of the most groundbreaking symphonies of the modern era, and is particularly one of my favorites, La Mer. Despite being penned over 100 years ago, it is still as fresh and modern today.

Beautiful things can come from tragedies. Life is a journey, a continual circle.  Someone yesterday said on facebook that she was having to answer the questions of her six year old daughter as to why such tragedy is allowed. Why indeed? Why do we experience death? Because death is a part of the circle of life. It is the completion of the cycle, and for many religions that believe in the afterlife (such as mine in Christianity), it is the gateway into a new journey.

 The natural order is violent. It understands that to bring in new life, that others must pass to complete the cirlce. As Jack Johnson once penned in one of his songs, “Losing life makes  new life easier to understand”. It’s a sad process but a process, and a needed process. Afterwards a rebirth begins. Nature’s way and man’s way are frequently at odds with each other. We think of it as a peaceful, serene, tranquil order (and it can be) but it’s frought with the harsh realities of survival. Nature needs change, even when painful. Afterwards, it rebuilds. It grows. It flourishes.

I would like to think that some time in the future, the Japanese people will recover from this tragedy as they have before in the past. Right now my prayers will be with them in the months and years to come.



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