I wrote this on Saturday in the shinkansen on the way to Hiroshima, but didn’t get to post it until I got back to Tokyo today.
Those words are from Mordecai in the book of Esther 4:14. Several years ago I read Ann Voskamp’s blog and words about the Esther generation. Shortly after that I went to Osaka to visit Okio’s cousin who had cancer. I had never met her but had heard that her sister was visiting from England and she was a Christian. I was encouraged to learn that both sisters were Christians. Today, I was once again in Osaka and heard Okio refer to these words. I came to Osaka with Okio as he was speaking at a Cancer philosophy clinic/cafe at Svenson. Svenson is a wig maker and has been sponsoring clinic/cafes in Tokyo and Yokohama. It was my first time to visit one of their shops.
Listening to Okio’s lecture in Japanese can be a challenge. Fortunately he doesn’t change his lecture too often. He readily admits that himself. So listening to the same lecture allows me to gleam new and or better understanding each time. I will admit that I dislike sitting in the front, especially when I’m facing the audience! An hour lecture after 2 and a 1/2 hours on the Shinkansen is too much sitting for me.
However, I would like to share some of what I gleaned. There are about 5,000,000 cancer survivors in Japan. That is about half of the people who are diagnosed with cancer. If cancer would be diagnosed earlier the percentage of survivors would be closer to 70%.
Okio says that it is not so important what is said but who has said it. He has read books by and about many famous Japanese people and quotes those people frequently. Katsukaishu, Inazou Nitobe, Shigeru Nambara are a few of those people. Today it is so easy to use the Internet to search for an appropriate quote, but how many of us have read and can quote several people from memory?
Math has many applications in our lives. One that I’ve learned from Okio has to do with helping others. A positive number times a positive number is positive. A negative number times a positive number is negative, but a negative number times a negative number is positive. When we are hurting and find someone who is hurting more than ourself we can help them and ourself. Okio started the cancer philosophy clinics about eight years ago. They are now in more than 70 locations. Many of them are staffed by cancer survivors. He challenged those in attendance today to be willing to step out and help someone else. Svenson and various hospitals, churches and even a few temples have started cafes. Okio attends a few regularly and some every few months. But each of us is called to something bigger than ourself.
I have been helping at the Higashikurume cafe for the past 2 years. Last week I took a doctor and nurse who were visiting from the States. I thought we’d stay a short time since they didn’t understand Japanese and I can only translate bits and pieces. Once we got there they wanted to stay the entire time. When asked what they thought, they commented on the faces of many of those in attendance. When they had come in, many looked stressed and worried. As they shared and listened you could see a change in their continence. This is something I’ve noticed in the past.
Presently I’m on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima to visit Okio’s sister. He went onto Kanazawa and then to Fukui for more lectures. I’m glad I can support him, but one lecture in a weekend is enough. What does Hiroshima hold? What does He have in store for me?
Well, I’m home from Hiroshima. It was a relaxing time and I look forward to going back sometime in the future.