Sunday, May 17, 2009
The lens I've been looking through has come into focus.
About a week ago I hit a wall (not literally).
I had been feeling restless.
I chose to come to Japan. Why? I don't know, but God does. I chose Japan when I was flipping through a 'Study Abroad in Asia' book at school that listed all the options I could choose from. I made the decision and I was 100% certain that Japan was the country I was to go to. From the initial decision to the day I flew to Japan, everything fell divinely into place. God fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and reassured me time and time again that Japan was where He wanted me.
Since the day I arrived, I've been waiting. I've been waiting to answer the question, why am I here? I've been waiting for God to just hold a big banner in front of my eyes with the answer on it. I found, though, that this big question and my big expectations were clouding my vision. I became restless and dissatisfied with some areas of my life here in Japan. It became difficult for me to see what God was unfolding.
Pen to paper, I journaled. I wrote pages and pages. Suddenly an image appeared. The image: a single road leading up to a wall with two roads splitting off in different directions. I couldn't continue down the same path I was on. I had to choose a new path. Lightbulb! God doesn't want me to sit and wait, He wants me to live in active obedience. I was reminded of Noah. Scripture tells us that Noah was commanded by God to build an ark. There was no sign of a great storm in which it would be necessary for such a thing, but in active obedience, Noah built the ark anyway, trusting that God would bring the storm. When Noah finished, God sent the rain and those on the ark were saved. God called me here, He opened every door. Like Noah, I can't see the bigger purpose of this calling, but I trust that God's perfect plan will unfold. Noah didn't sit around and wait for the rain. He built the ark, he spent years on the ark. When I hit the metaphorical wall, I decided to go down the path of proactiveness. What I want to be a part of, I join, and what I don't, I don't. I have to listen to my heart because that's where God moves and speaks to me. His will be done - this is where I set my eyes upon.
Since that day, the fog has lifted. No more anxiety, but clarity. I made some big decisions and they have brought me to where I am right now.
About one year ago, I began reading the blog of a BBC Environmental Correspondent, Richard Black. One such blog entry of his started me off on a journey I am still on today. This particular entry reported on the whaling industry here in Japan, focusing on a relevant court case between the whaling industry and Greenpeace Japan. In sum, two Greenpeace workers discovered boxes of whale meat sent by crew members of a whaling factory that were shipped as personal baggage and labelled as containing cardboard. Further investigation came to discover that crewmembers of the whaling ship, Nishin Maru, have been giving 10kg of whale meat to each crew member for more than 20 years. The Greenpeace workers exposed the scandal to the Tokyo Prosecutor's office but after one month of deliberation, the Greenpeace workers were arrested (!!!), citing trespass and theft of whale meat. Since then the two workers have been released, but are still under strict rules under the government until the case is fully resolved. The court case is still going on.
The day I read that article was the day I really felt the aching - the deep aching that comes from a combination of sadness, restlessness, and the strong motivation to do something. I have a voice. I want to be a voice for the voiceless. Prior to coming to Japan, I read numerous articles about the whaling industry here. Every article I read, every picture I saw, just intensified the aches. I got in touch with Greenpeace shortly after I arrived and sat down for a meeting with them just weeks later. At the meeting, I had to keep myself from crying. It was one of the first times in my life where I felt SO sure that I was meant to be exactly where I was, exactly when I was. It was an incredibly moving feeling. FINALLY I might be able to DO something for the whales, the animals, the Earth. At the meeting I got to share my heart with a lady named Mai, a Greenpeace worker so deeply passionate about what Greenpeace represents. It was beautiful. I left the meeting with such joy.
I had to wait a couple of weeks, until the holiday (Golden Week) was over and everyone was back to their regular schedules. I started feeling very antsy during this time. More days were going by when I wasn't using my voice. Doubtful thoughts came to my mind: "what if Greenpeace doesn't work out?" "what if they don't call me back?" I didn't know how to answer my own questions.
Luckily I didn't have to.
The day after Golden Week I received an email from Greenpeace informing me that I had been officially registered as a volunteer. Yes!! I was so excited, so ready.
My first official day as a volunteer was last Thursday. What an incredible day. I sat down with a couple of the Greenpeace workers and listened to them as they shared what they would like to have me do for them while I am here. I was asked to join the T2 Team - this is the group of Greenpeace workers focused on the whaling court case I referred to earlier. T2 stands for the Tokyo Two - the two Greenpeace workers that were arrested. As part of the T2 Team, I will be doing a lot of research and writing, as well as many other tasks that come up. I was also asked by the Greenpeace Director to help with their English website. Sounds like I will be starting my journalism career early by writing some articles to be posted on the site.
I spent over three hours in the office and the whole time I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I couldn't believe that I was finally here, finally in a place where change could happen in a big way. Greenpeace is exactly what I have been waiting for (not only since arriving in Japan).
As the feelings of excitement and anticipation overwhlem me, I have to bring myself back to the aching, to the source that causes the aching - whaling, man's inconsideration for wildlife. My work at Greenpeace is my protest against silence. Silence, selfishness, complacency - they can't continue. The forests are diminishing, the animals are being killed, the world is getting warmer, and WHY? because man is innately selfish. Man must fight the natural tendency to sit comfortably and ignore the injustices. Soon, very soon, it will be impossible to ignore them. We must choose to be informed, choose to act, choose to speak up. We were all given a beating heart, a heart that pumps not only blood through our system, but passion. We were all given a voice, a voice that needs to be heard. Follow your passion, speak up with your voice.
We can't do everything, but we can all DO SOMETHING.
This is where I am. This is where everyone can be. It's what God intends for His people, His Earth.
We must be the change we want to see in the world - Ghandi.
SO, no more big questions and worrying and waiting. God has met me where I'm at. He has blessed me with such a fantastic opportunity to work and speak through Greenpeace. I am taking it in and being honest with myself and Him. I am giving Greenpeace the majority of my time while I am here. I will be working for them three times a week. I quit the tennis team, so that I could give my full heart to the mission of the organization.
His will be done.
Sayonara for now!