Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reaching the Six-Month Mark: A Quick Update

As of today I have "slept" away one-half year of news, entertainment, sports and weather.

Even though in my mind this represents a notable achievement, I recognize that any celebrating would be massively premature. Read on.

A day ago my brother emailed me. He was wondering how I'm doing. More specifically he wanted to know if I've been able to continue to sustain my 21st century imitation of Rip Van Winkle in light of certain major world events:

   How's your news blackout holding up?  I checked your blog
   to see if it might have cratered on the weight of recent events,  
   but I see no evidence of that.  I expect to see a posting soon
   explaining how impossible it is to stay completely unaware of
   what goes on. 

To my brother, and anyone else kind enough to read this, I want to say that I haven't cratered. But my brother is right. There's suddenly been more of a challenge than before if I want to remain ignorant of what's happening in the world.

On Friday,March 11 an email from a colleague addressed to all members of our English Department arrived in my in-box:

    Good morning,

   Many of you remember our former grad student, NAME OMITTED,
   who is currently teaching in Japan.

   She communicated through Facebook that she is shaken,

   her apartment "in shambles," but she is unhurt.
   Remember her in prayers as she will feel both vulnerable and lonely,
   but also as she will have many opportunities to minister to those
   around her

Oh my. What does that sound like? Duh. An earthquake in Japan, one of the most earthquake-prone regions of the world. In the next couple of days I overheard enough people speaking the word "Japan" to sense that a disaster there had captured their attention because it was devastating.

This sounds frightening. It's the kind of thing where under normal circumstances I would immediately seek out photos and then hope to read tales of survivors or people being rescued.

At a minimum, I want to glance at some headlines and get a sense of the dimensions of what is being dealt with.

What I really want to hear is something positive along the lines that the number of those who perished is perhaps fewer than was first thought.

How many people died? How much was destroyed? I have no idea...

I can't let myself go in that direction. I won't know what happened when the earth shook until Sept. 11 and the end of the Van Winkle Project rolls around. - V.W.


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