In the wake of today's horrible earthquake in Japan, it seems extremely frivolous to talk/write/think about anything else.  As the world becomes smaller, and our friendships expand into ever widening swaths, we become more cognizant of our common humanity and thus affected more deeply in times of tragedy.  I think of my daughter in law, who, for the past 11 years, has lived halfway around the world from her family in Thailand.  During that time, there have been floods, political revolutions, and yes, a devastating tsunami.  I think of my friends, who will soon leave for a three year sojourn in China, not knowing what events will occur in the world around them. We spread all over the world these days, globalizing our economies, our culture, our relationships.  We leave families and friends behind, embrace new lifestyles, new friendships.  Yet no matter where we're from or where we travel, our needs are essentially the same - the safety and comfort of home, and the love of family and friends.  When those are threatened or taken from us, whether by natural disaster, the whims of fate, or the ravages of time, we ache.  We grieve.  We mourn.

To paraphrase an old saying - we are far, but yet so near.  Near in heart and mind are the people of Japan, and all those who love them.