Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happiness is...surviving a disaster.

Okay, so disaster is a rather strong word. Disturbance is probably more appropriate.

About 1:50 this afternoon the majority of the East Coast experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. It was big enough to shake things up a bit but not to do any real damage (at least that I've heard so far.)

When the first tremor rolled through my co-worker and I both thought initially it was just a big truck driving past or someone knocking something over upstairs. The sound came first followed by some brief shaking and after we had realized it was something bigger than a truck our thoughts wandered in the direction of explosions and possible terrorist attacks. It all stopped as quickly as it had started but then a second wave hit.  This one was more pronounced and much more earthquake like.

We all congregated out at the main library desk to exclaim over the strangeness of it and share our brief stories (it's amazing how much everyone had the need to tell everyone else [who had also been there experiencing the exact same thing] just what it was like and what had happened) and scouring the internet for proof that it was really just an earthquake. (I wasn't here in the DC area 10 years ago when the events of 9/11 occurred but I can only imagine how many people had moments of terror and flashbacks to that fateful day.)  And then we basically went back about our business (until we came upon someone new to share our story with.)

Several locations in DC were evacuated and eventually the city decided to shut down the library early in order to do some safety sweeps and check gas lines and a few things so my roommates and I reunited back at our place (with only a few things knocked over as proof of the day's events) to again share our stories and experiences of what happened.

For a relative non-event it has given me a lot to think about. First, I need to make sure I have an emergency plan in place in case something truly traumatic and disastrous ever does happen. Second, I'm grateful that it wasn't any worse than it actually was. Third, I'm grateful for all of the people who called or texted or emailed to check in and make sure I was okay (thank you all!) Fourth, I was glad to have had some time recently with my family while at the same time being sad and frustrated that they live so far away. Fifth, as a follower of Christ who is looking forward (albeit sometimes with trepidation) to his second coming, I know that these kinds of disasters/experiences will continue to happen and will increase in severity and regularity...am I ready? What do I need to be doing to be sure my life is in order (physically, spiritually, emotionally etc.)? Am I pleased with where I am and who I am? Are there fences I need to mend or traits I need to develop or weaknesses I need to overcome? Yes, of course there are. And today has been the perfect (gentle) reminder that this life is, indeed, the time to prepare to meet god.

So, friends, I would encourage you to pause for a moment after you read this entry and take quick stock of your life. Hug your friends. Tell your family you love them. Share your story with someone or take some time to let others share their story with you. Make those changes or try something you've been putting off doing, waiting for a better time.  There is no better time than now. There is no other time but now. Live it, love it.

And may the rest of the week be a bit less eventful for us all. Sweet dreams!

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