The earth has been trembling — sometimes violently shaking — since Friday. Walls spitting vases onto the floor; dishes rattling against cupboard doors; gas leaking from the furnace; patio furniture tumbling. My nerves. Oh Earth, have you no consideration for my poor nerves? [Name that movie].
Our first quake— a 3.6 — hit Friday evening while I was talking on the phone with my sister. "Sweet heavens, it's an earthquake!" I cried. And then I felt it: that weird intuitive knowing churning in my gut. There would be more quakes. Big quakes; scary quakes; quakes that could send my bungalow tumbling down the hill with me in it.
"Oh no, what should I do if a bigger quake hits?!" I asked my sister. "What if my roof collapses? What if I'm knocked unconscious? What if I die?! All the neighbors are gone! How is it possible that all my close neighbors are gone tonight?! It's a conspiracy! Help, Rebecca! Help!"
My sister has known me for 27 years. She knows I'm good at catastrophic thinking. She knows I can find a way to explain why the worst case scenario is the most likely scenario. She knows worrying is one of my special gifts. She knows I am...Anxiety Girl:
So she calmly replied, "You're fine, Sarah. Nothing has happened. Just curl up with a blanket and a book and relax."
So I did. It helped, and I've been curled up under the table with a blanket and a book ever since. Well, I've ventured out for food, water, and work a number of times. But I've had plenty of reasons to run back for cover.
Because a bigger quake measuring 5.1 did hit about an hour after I talked to my sister. To those of you who have survived earthquakes measuring 7, 8, and 9 on the richter scale: I can't fathom the terror of that experience. Because Friday night's quake scared the daylights out of me. It was close to the earth's surface, and I was on the epicenter. And as the shaking grew more violent and prolonged, I began to truly wonder if this.was. it. If my life would soon be over. Kaput. Finito. Arrivederci Roma.
But when the shaking stopped, I was still clinging to the leg of my table, my floral table cloth tickling my feet. I was very much alive. And I very much heard sirens all over the city and smelled gas leaking into my studio. So I turned off my furnace, packed a bag, and walked out to the street where I surveyed the houses up the hill and prayed,
"God, which house should I go to?"
I'd met an elderly lady — probably in her 90s — and her son on a walk awhile back, and had seen them in the window of the house at the top of the hill. Maybe they'd take me in. I lugged my bag up the hill, knocked on the door, and introduced myself.
Minutes later I was sitting on their couch watching the news while they dished up ice cream and cleaned up messes the earthquake made. "Why don't you sleep on our couch tonight," the elderly lady invited. Relieved, I snuggled onto the couch with my childhood comforter and flannel pillow, breathing thanks that I wouldn't have to brave the night alone.
Minutes after we'd turned out the lights, another earthquake rocked the house. Once its rumbling subsided I heard my hostess talking to her son in the back room, her voice stretched hoarse with age, "I'm glad she's here tonight. It would be so lonely in that apartment."
The next morning I had gluten-free blueberry muffins (with a side of aftershocks) with my new friends before heading back down the hill to wait for the gas man. I had to wait 16 hours before he arrived due to all the gas leaks the earthquake had caused, but I wasn't alone that day. A friend of my next door neighbors had come to check on their cat, and checked on me regularly to make sure I was holding up through all the aftershocks. By the end of the day, he was a new friend.
So it's been a productive week. The aftershocks keep on rocking, and the friendships keep on accumulating. It's marvelous to see all the good gifts that God gives in the midst of distress. I am tired of all this shaking though. And my adrenal glands are tired. I don't know how much more adrenaline they can pump. Hopefully they won't have to pump much more. But just in case there are more quakes, I've got my disaster preparedness kit packed and ready to go:
Toilet paper is the cherry on top of this girl's disaster preparedness kit.
Speaking of cherries on top, I have a tub of ice cream in the freezer. I think I shall go eat it. Ice cream helps with adrenaline overflow and makes earthquakes more manageable. It's a scientific fact.
Science always was my strong-suit.
Just kidding. We all know worrying is. ;)
Happy Tuesday, friends!
© by scj