Monday, April 09, 2007
Land of Cherry Blossoms and Gamba-te
I am spending my Easter holidays here in Japan.This is the second time of being here but this trip is deepening my sense of appreciation for the good things I see in Japanese culture and creativity, my... what a humble and hospitable people.
I came just in time when the Cherry Blossoms are just opening up and now, they are fully opened. Some of the petals have started to drop. Cherry Blossoms are so beautiful but it has a very short life span - 2 weeks and it is gone. This is so similar to life on this old world, our lives are like these Cherry Blossom flowers, it is there for a very short time and it is quickly gone.
Gamba-te (do your best) is often used as a farewell blessing to someone you want to wish well. I realize now how happy a Japanese can be when he hears this encouragement said to him. Unfortunately from "doing one's best" one can switch to "being the best". This second shift has produced so much pressure in the lives of those who take this concept seriously... it has produced depression, tiredness and guilt/shame for we know we always fall short of being the best in our class/group/community. I observe that this is the Law... and as we know it produces despair, and if not this -- going over the top with honour or pride. Hence, as I see them, many are tired, weary, often sleeping in the train as they go to work. They are not only physically tired, they are emotionally tired as well, it is like a vicious cycle. The reality is that "you can be the best" and still leave yourself empty inside. We must help them realize that there is One who is the best in all things and He became so -- for them, that they might rest in what He has won for them.
Lord, be merciful, send workers in Japan to show the light of the gospel on these people - she needs your Cross, they need the freedom and the acceptance of still being forgiven for not being the best.