What and how much has happened in ten months?
Ten months is the time that have passed since the first big earthquake hit the Southwest region of my homeland.
Since a month ago, graduation season has come for some and fast approaching for many others. I do not have the exact numbers, but a significant percentage of high school graduates will soon be leaving their hometowns, if they have not already due to the earthquakes, to receive higher education or start working elsewhere.
It is scary for anyone to leave behind the place and people who have fostered them, but maybe the new graduates in the affected regions are feeling extra scared because of their unique situation.
Maybe because they must leave behind everything dear to them that are still largely damaged and distressed… what if they suffer setbacks recovering because they have less hands to help?
Or, maybe because their dear ones could change so drastically while they are away that would not recognize them any more… what if they no longer feel welcomed when time comes for them to return home?
And maybe because they just might enjoy their new lives in new places and with new people as much as, or more than, those in their hometowns… what if they themselves change so drastically while they are away that they will not want to go back when time comes for them to return home?
But maybe by leaving their hometowns, they can remind those of us on the outside that there are still many places and people largely damaged and distressed, and recruit many more hands to help.
Maybe the drastic changes in their dear ones will actually be welcoming to more modern, progressive ways of living and thinking which they might be wishing for but were previously denied.
And maybe there are visions that can be seen and voices that can be heard only by enjoying new lives in new places and with new people, changing them drastically to be able to trigger recovery and regeneration that can be brought precisely because they are on the outside.
Yes, the fears of leaving behind what are dear to you can be endless. But if you do not leave your heart – your love for them – behind as well, the hopes in looking ahead with them, even from afar, can be limitless. And I believe the dear ones they leave behind will take heart from their doing so, and try even harder to rebuild the region that will always welcome them home and make them want to return.
So I wish for the new graduates to fill their hearts not with fears but with hopes, and be sure to take those hearts with them wherever they go. And I wish for their dear ones to take heart from their heart-felt love.
I am very grateful that you have taken my people into your hearts and continued to send your love and support to us. We are deeply moved… you surely give us the courage and confidence to keep looking ahead.
(Dropped the pencil and picked up shuttles to tat this, but I think I failed to pick the right thread for the pattern… such a heartbreak!)
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you – you have definitely stolen my heart away!!