|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
I bet you heard Forrest Gump opine that life is like a box of chocolates, didn't ya? Well, I think he was wrong. I think life is more like an earthquake. I didn't think too much about that till today. Guess you heard about it. The earth around here shook for a while. Actually, even tho' it was not all that earthshaking, it went on a little too long for my comfort. Now that the novelty of it has worn off, I'd just as soon not feel that again.
One of my friends suggested it wasn't really an earthquake...just me, the fraidy cat, shaking with fear about something. Funny thing, about the time she said that, I had realized I was on the verge of having a mild panic attack. The thoughts of 'what if' had just begun to filter into the tail end of my day. Thankfully, her comment made me laugh and broke the spell as it were. I guess I owe her a box of chocolates. But, I digress.
After I quit laughing, I started thinking about how folks in such a close area had experienced the tremors in such different ways. Friends on one block were completely oblivious while some on the next heard a loud BANG followed by shaking. Son #1 thought our washer was off balance. I thought he had suddenly taken up Zumba in the privacy of his room. One friend's cabinet doors opened and closed while she grabbed the fishbowl before it crashed to the floor. At my husband's chemical plant, machinery caused vibrations are so common that most didn't even stop their work to note the occasion even tho' they felt the tremors.
As I watched the Facebook status threads burst into a frenzy of reporting, I realized there were as many different experiences and reactions as there were people. One phenomenon reverberated up and down the east coast of the US in limitless ways. I guess it isn't all that profound an observation, but isn't that just like life? One event has the power to impact many, many people. Yet, everyone feels the effects differently.
I've had a lot of reason to think about the earthquakes of life this last 10 days or so. I've been up close and personal with the monster in the shadows of our life. Or rather, I've been confronted with the sticky tentacles which thread in and out and up and down in our life because of the legacy the monster left behind. If you were sitting here beside me, you could hear me groan softly as I type these words. I never thought I'd have writer's block, but the stress has been utterly draining. Even words fail me now. That's saying a lot for someone who is never at a loss for them.
From the outside looking in, I can see the devastation left behind by the monster. To you, the fault lines would be invisible, but I can trace them with my eyes closed. The monster has affected my husband and our family. The monster has robbed us of who we could have been even tho' we have survived far beyond what others might have in our shoes. We continue to mount a valiant struggle to live beyond the trauma. And yet, we are never quite free.
There are others who bear unique scars as well. While we are never completely free, they remain totally imprisoned and unable to reach out for help in a constructive way. So deep is the pain that denial, avoidance, and control are the only ways to cope. I fear the end result may be disaster if help does not come quickly enough. It seems death is literally at the prison door. It's enough to make a fraidy cat tremble.
As I talked with Jeff about the situation, we wondered why he had the resilience to reach out, and keep reaching out, for help until he could tell the truth. Why was he able to when others equally affected were not?
He noted a pattern of reaching out for help with one hand while simultaneously pushing help away with the other. His voice dropped to a whisper, “Yea, I'm real good at reaching out with one hand while I push someone away with the other.” I was afraid to breathe too deeply lest I scare the truth away. It was the first time he had been able to verbalize his tendency to do so. Every time I almost give up, there is reason to hope again and to keep on going even when logic may tell me to give up.
The earthquake in our lives, and the monster who triggered it, has gone unnoticed by some and unacknowledged by others. There are those who are angry because we chose to confront the truth head on and won't back down. Some deny, some avoid, others do damage control. Our lives are bound together by the commonality of experience and pushed apart by the way each individual copes with the aftermath of our earthquake.
Our best hope is that one day, somehow, our courage will empower those still imprisoned to reach out for help in constructive ways. We can only hope that help comes before it is too late. Tonight, the fraidy cat in me can only groan softly, “Even so, Lord, let it be....”
|Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative|
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.