Saturday, March 19, 2011

As the Earth Shakes

I keep trying to write and nothing comes. I'm trying to count gifts and I keep getting stuck. I'm realizing I can't write until I write about this. Last Friday, 7000 miles away, thousands of lives were lost and millions of lives will never be the same. All in moments. The world shook. A little over a week ago a country made up of almost 4000 islands was shaken to it's core. The shaking brought upset and ruin not because it caused buildings to crumble (they were all so well prepared for that) but it was the after effects of the trembling. The earth heaved and groaned and hurled water 30 feet high. They prepared for the trembling but who can prepare for what that trembling brought? Water, it's an amazing force. It's life giving and life taking. We all start our lives in a fluid that is 98% water. Those little specific ratios of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen make up 70% of our earth and 60% of the human body. And last week it rose up into 30 feet walls and took homes, neighborhoods, lives with it back out to sea.

How do we go on? How do we mow our lawns and play baseball? How do we let any moment slip by without holding those we love so tight. How do we stop thinking how all can be lost in just an instant? How do we reconcile this extraordinary event with our beliefs that God is good and in every moment?

Shaking ground. Destructive water. Lives lost. So many lives.

The reconciliation is hard. It is. There was never a promise that we'd be saved from this broken world. Not on this side of heaven. There is a promise though, it says we'll never be forsaken. The promise is that as the ground shakes, even as it falls away, we will be held.

I can't just go on. None of us can. The economic, social and environmental impact of this disaster is yet to be seen. But more than that, we can't go on unchanged. We need to be purposeful in loving our neighbors to the West. We need to pray. We need to be hands and feet and arms loving and giving and building back what was lost as best we can. We also need to get perspective about what it is to have and to not. We need to not live as though we'll get infinite chances to do it better the next time. We need to to treasure each moment we have with those we love. We need to honor these neighbors by letting ourselves be shaken right along with them. We need to live in light of eternity while taking each moment as it is meant to be, a gift.


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