Sunday, May 17, 2009

After the Earthquake Hits

                                   *Photo of a sign that stands at the end of our street.

As in any unexpected jolt that might occur within the semblance of our daily routines, an earthquake is a very sudden shock of reality which can make you feel as if your mind and body are temporarily in a momentary state of disconnect.  It takes several seconds before the mind realizes that the body could be in a potentially disastrous situation at which point the adrenaline kicks into maximum gear and a quick decision must be made in order to minimize the risks.  Living in Southern California, for the past nearly twenty-five years, has given me the opportunity to experience many, many earthquakes.  I must admit that after the first few, it was much easier to become somewhat desensitized to the possibility of severe damage.  I mean how many times can we sit through immeasurably long newscasts in which pictures of convenience stores with a few items that have fallen to the floor are flashed across the screen over and over and over again.  It becomes a bit of a farce when something so potentially disastrous is used as filler for a nine PM newscast.  And yet, we are all told that "The Big One" is going to hit us, sometime, someplace and without a warning or a doubt.

Life is like this.  In many ways, we all live in Tsunami hazard zones just waiting for the big one to hit.  One moment, our life is as we expect it to be.  Our days fairly predictable, with very few diversions along the way.  And then, something happens in the matter of a split second, which can absolutely shake us to the core of our being.  This happened to me fourteen months ago when my only sibling, my forty-one year old brother died suddenly.  One moment, we were getting ready to meet him and his family for dinner and the next thing I knew, I was standing next to his body laying on a gurney in the hospital ER.  An earthquake of inordinate proportions, followed by a life-shattering Tsunami.  And yet, what I have learned from my own personal Tsunami is that even after the absolute worst has hit, life can feel somewhat safe again.  There is something insurmountable about the human spirit that can guide it back to center, even after experiencing something that initially seems impossible to recover from.  Maybe it has to do with the smaller situations that tend to shake up our worlds on a frequent basis which truly do prepare us for the enormous, life-altering jolts.  Maybe it has to do with the ability to stand back a little bit more each time something happens, allowing ourselves the time that we need in order to react safely.  For me, I know that it has little to do with fear and a lot to do with the calmness that immediately comes over me when I find myself in a fearful situation.  For me, it is not only the smaller situations which help me to better deal with the larger, more ominous ones, but the Hand that I feel upon my shoulder willing me to respond and not react when an extra large dose of adrenaline is sent coursing through my veins.

Tonight, as a 4.7 sized earthquake struck Southern California, I felt that initial jolt of adrenaline as it made its way to my heart.  But as the floor beneath my feet began to steady itself, once again, I felt my soul return from nervousness to calm.  In life, as well as in difficult situations, panic is only a waste of precious energy.  I have learned that living in earthquake country means that there will inevitably be earthquakes.  And living the human experience means that there will inevitably be sudden jolts to our own lives.  The key is how we respond to the aftermath once the shaking has ceased.

Be safe, dear ones.


Ness said...

Truer words were never written...I'm getting good at riding out the jolts of daily life.

May your life jolts be few and your earthquakes fewer. Love ya, Deb.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

so true glad you are all safe and sound!

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

What a unique perception of two things.

Sabi said...

Deb, I am glad you guys are all right....very nicely describe.. Sometime i wonder what will happen next time, no one know... so enoyed every second of your life.

jen said...

This is such an excellent piece of writing, Debra. I wonder if you could have this published elsewhere.

Jenn-n-n said...


I am glad you and yours are safe.

I love your perspective on life. How you relate life's happenings to events is a gift.

rivergardenstudio said...

I hope the ground stays steady and you get a break from earth quakes for a while. I grew up down in Santa Monica and I know that rush of adrenalin you speak of. I am glad you are healing... Roxanne

Debbie said...

Only you can turn an earthquake into something so eloquent and thought provoking. I hope the shaking is over.

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