Japan has more earthquakes per year than any other place in the world, anyway that’s what I have heard. They have long been my most feared natural disaster. We lived on the gulf coast for many years and I became a tropical storm, tornado and hurricane watcher. The thing that is different about earthquakes is the inability to predict them in enough time to give warning.

This week I have been pondering why I should be grateful for them. Right after the Great Tohoku earthquake (that is how it is referred to here in Japan) on March 11, 2011, my friend Toshi expressed his gratitude for the earthquake. His home suffered considerable damage and they were without water, gas and electricity for a long time. Toshi said he was glad for the trial run so that he can be better prepared for when the “Big One” hits Tokyo.

I am grateful that I was here on March 11, 2011. I learned where I am weak and where I am strong. I am grateful I got to experience my reaction and also how others react. It became a fight or flight situation when we found out about Fukushima. I learned to rely on on the Spirit and learned that he doesn’t always tell everyone the same thing. What was right for us was not right for everyone.

Earthquakes show me my vulnerability and reinforce the fact that we cannot control everything. They also teach me to have faith and move forward without fear. So I am grateful for what they teach me.