Last year in November, we experienced an earthquake that literally shook our foundations. Physically+mentally+spiritually, something about having random objects literally fall, clang, and crash down around you, wondering in the seconds if your ceiling would crush you, forced me to take stock of what the hell I was doing in my life.
Aftershocks continued through the weeks, reminding us to be alert, stirring up a little unwanted PTSD and angst. Knowing that Mother Nature had more reins over our direct reality, was not to be taken lightly. Hysterical, emotions wired, broken glass on the floor, cracks in the walls…random objects in disarray on the floor, where they clearly didn’t belong. It anguished the neat freak in me, and control was NOT in my immediate power. I was a complete mess, and scrambling for something to hold onto.
But it put reality in perspective. Did I really care about the things that I held so dear before the earthquake? What could I throw away that I hadn’t thought about getting rid of before? Were other HUMANS ok? What can I do right now to be helpful?
There weren’t any casualties that day. Some of the roads and businesses were damaged, but lasting impressions imprinted more so on our minds. Would there be another one, just as bad, or even worse to come? Had there been a tsunami, could we withstand it? I know worse disasters have occurred in the history of the world. We’d gone through hurricanes before, years ago in another part of the country, so we were not oblivious to how Mother Nature takes her wrath on the earth.
But I remember distinctly how scared we were. Sense of control lost, regained through the clean up, sifting, stacking of things that had fallen. What happens now? Life CAN’T possibly go back to normal after something like this.
But it does.
Over time, the angst would subside. In bits and pieces.
I didn’t know what else I could do, in the mess of it all, so I prayed. I had no strength left, in my spirit, body, mind, heart…I just didn’t have any energy left after that. I’d been pretending, even before the earthquake, that I could handle my life on my own, with no need of anyone else. It was emotionally and physically draining to live like this. And God literally shook me awake.
As the months crawled after that natural phenomenon, I started trying new things. Around that time, I had given up. I had resigned myself to some fate, that I wasn’t capable of doing anything in my life.
But somehow, God gets our attention. I prayed, and tried to listen more. I read His word, and tried to open my mind and heart to what direction to go. To be more patient, about what I wasn’t able to discern on my own. I don’t know what it is about trauma, but it literally took me to be shaken for me to try to rebuild a relationship with Him again.
And than somehow, he sent me home. To spend time with my family, who lived far away. I realized again how much I had closed myself off to love, joy, and connection by choosing fear over God’s guidance.
I don’t know how, why, or what did it, but I felt closer to God there than any time I’d convinced myself was better by being alone. With my family, I remembered what care felt like. To have a cup full again, and to offer it to those around me. I don’t understand it, but something clicked again. Or cracked open, a little bit in the darkness my mind had been going to.
I’m still learning about where God wants me to go, but I now know that doing it alone, the healing, the growing, is too hard to do by oneself. There are sometimes moments we need to be alone; and it’s ok to give ourselves permission to do that. But I now know that if I am going to manage my state of mind, my mental health, and wellness, I have to delineate some of the burden and pain, and to let others in. That I am capable of connecting, of offering something good and worthwhile to others. To let people help me, so I can offer a full(er) cup to people I want to help.
And to do that takes trust. And it’s a characteristic unlike hope, or discipline, or positivity. It’s making an active choice that something will guide, support, and take care of you, and some other things I don’t quite understand yet. But it’s something that isn’t easy sometimes. It’s like stepping into the dark, knowing that when the light is turned on, that what lies there isn’t harmful. That what leads you there, will have your back if it is.
My pursuit this year is to listen and be more aware of God’s message for my life, and to trust that God knows best what I need to be better.