As if there is anyone out there who does not know this, I’m going to tell you that we had an earthquake here in the District of Columbia on Tuesday, August 23. And, as I sit here writing this, we are awaiting the arrival of a hurrican named Irene (although if weather forecasting has any veracity at all, those of us here in the city will only see Irene as a tropical storm).
Mostly, I’m writing about this for myself, since it is hardly news. But I want to remember the events of this week far into the future.
I suppose that there are many in this country who think that Washington and its politicians are getting only a small taste of the Armegeddon they deserve. Obviously, Snomageddon was not enough to punish us adequately for our iniquity.
But all political rhetoric aside, there is little in this world to remind you of your priorities more than the earth beneath your feet literally moving. I actually turned down a job in California once because I was afraid of living in an earthquake zone. Like so many others in our region, my first thought was not “Oh my God, there’s an earthquake” but “Oh my God, another explosion”. The last time I felt anything close to that sensation was the day that the plane went into the Pentagon, about a mile from my house. Yes, I was frightened, I’ll admit it.
We grabbed the dog, our purses and ran for the door (we were upstairs on the 3rd floor), and of course, by the time we were outside, it was over. Just as I have been so many times in my life, and as I expect to be this weekend in the face of Irene, I was a very lucky girl. My luck, however, is not that I often seem to escape with little harm or damage or suffering, but that in most instances of trauma, I am able to see, from my viewpoint of faith, the gift in the situation and the blessings of my life all around.
So it was so interesting to me that, at our morning Bible reading, the day after the earthquake, our passage for the morning was Psalm 107, which is, for those of you who don’t know it, a long recitation of the fate of those who refuse to be grateful for the good that surrounds them, and the saving grace of the Lord available to those who but ask for help. I’m just saying, it is a pretty good reminder. That, and the earthquake. And the hurricane to come. And whatever else may appear in the coming days.
Yes, I have been reminded that I really have no control of the most important things. Yes, here I sit, doing my best to prepare for what is ahead. And yes, I like many, will be glued to the Weather Channel or CNN or some other news source to see what is going on around me through the worst of what is to come. But this time, I’m going to remember the lesson of Tuesday’s earthquake and Psalm 107: I’m a lucky girl, in a lucky world, because we all belong to God.