You find out what you're really made of when there's a significant earthquake in the darkness of morning, whilst you're still in bed.
I'm actually that weirdo who loves earthquakes.
The sensation and reminder that I'm not in as much control as I'd like to think I'm in somehow reassures me. And in the midst of these ground shaking phenomenons I feel a boat load of peace. I can't fully explain it, but I just do. I feel an inner calm and peace in the midst of the ground shaking and the walls wavering back and forth.
I've been in a variety of settings when significantly sized earthquakes have occurred. One time I was at school, another time a retreat, once on the road, and quite a few times at home.
And in all these instances, I just felt like I was riding the wave.
But this past Monday, around 6:15A.M., something unusual happened. About 10 minutes before the earthquake happened, I opened my eyes out of a dead sleep. I rustled about in my bed, couldn't quite get comfortable and tried to wait until the early morning sounds of Monday morning died down. No sooner did I roll over and try once again to go back to sleep, that a deep rumbling started to penetrate the walls of the entire house.
I was startled. Perplexed at first, because I was still semi-sleepy and didn't know if I was in that almost-dream state.
And then the rumbling intensified dramatically and I could hear things in my bathroom falling down.
That's when things seemed to play out in slow motion for me.
It's dark, so you don't quite have your bearings.
"Jesus. Jesus." It was a prayer and a means to calm my own heart down--to bring some familiarity into the situation.
And you want to reach your arms out like someone who's beginning to drown.
You want to try and hold the walls up.
And at the same time, you want to cling to your pillow and just ride it out.
And then, like a reflex, I remembered that I needed to get out of bed and go to the closest doorway.
And as mysteriously and quickly as the earthquake began, it stopped.
"Are you okay?!"
The voice of my roommate.
And we were.
Just shaky. Which was new for me.
I've always felt like Indiana Jones during an earthquake in the past, but this time, I felt more like, "Willie Scott".
But the shaking was now over, and it was time to lay back down and sleep. Or at least try to.
But I couldn't really fall back asleep. Instead I was oddly tense and fervently waiting for the aftershock (which did come eventually and gently shook my entire bed).
Moments passed, I dozed off for a few minutes at a time, but eventually I decided to start the day much earlier than planned.
This is what happens when you're shaken awake.
And yet, somehow, I felt like this earthquake was mercy.
No this wasn't the "Big One" by any means (Geologists say that we in Southern California have a 99% chance of having a catastrophic earthquake in the next 30 years.), the earthquake I experienced was actually quite small (4.4) for Southern Californian standards, but somehow this quake gave the illusion of a 5.0 -- Perhaps because of how shallow the quake actually was--meaning 6 miles below the earth's surface, instead of further down.
Nevertheless, it suggested that we be prepared, reminded, and grateful everyday of the opportunities and time that we've been afforded thus far.
And yes, since I was and am a Girl Scout (I mean, does one ever really retire from being a Girl Scout. #Nope). And our motto is, "Be Prepared", just know that all of my survival kit items have now been updated, including our emergency evacuation strategies. #Dontsleep
In my quiet time with God this morning, I was rereading a famous passage: John 3:16
In this translation, certain words were better expanded upon to give a richer meaning of the text.
Which led me to think:
What have we been clinging to in our lives thus far?
Something solid, something meaningful, something lasting, something true?
I was so gently reminded this morning that God knows that we often flail about with our arms in the air needing something and someone to cling to. And He, in such profound love and grace, so freely offers Himself to be our ultimate Anchor.
"For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life."
- John 3:16 (Amplified Translation)
- John 3:16 (Amplified Translation)