About 10 days ago I experienced my first strong earthquake, or at least the one I felt the most. No where near what everyone living in Japan experienced on March 11th and the proceeding hours, days and weeks of over 1000 aftershocks, I admit. But, for me, it was the first time I could start to begin to uderstand the anxiety.
I was at Disney World Family singing the ABC song to a child at one of my fun part-time jobs, in a room of around 25 foreigners. The walls started to shake and everyone instantly peered at each other above their cubicles. Hopefully the child I was singing with didn’t recognize my gasp between QRS and TUV. I grabbed the sides of my desk and glared at Donald, typically a very calm person and readied myself to shed my headset and head to safety. The guy in front of me quickly grabbed the new helmets that World Family recently placed under our desks. People kept singing their songs with pauses at each jerk. I could feel my inner child form in my tear ducts (those who know me know that it doesn’t take much). My caller was calling from Kyushu (southern Japan) and most likely was not experiencing the same rumbling, so I had to suck it up for my 5 year old friend and make it to the end of the call.
It finally stopped and we all sighed and giggled and checked out our new helmets. I also noticed some other supplies prepared nearby, like flashlights, extra cellphones, batteries etc, ready for when needed.
Japan as well as the west coast is part of the “ring of fire” and well… like a lot of things in life, we just have to except earthquakes as inevitable. When that most recent earthquake shook, I tried to pin-point my fear. I felt insecure and unstable, unsure of what would happen next. It snapped me into the present moment. It has made me realize that nothing is really stable in life. Something eventually comes along and shakes things up. I spend way too much thought time in the past or the future and well, earthquakes are one more opportunity to bring me back to the present. (Well, if that ain’t makin’ lemonade out of lemons, I don’t know what is).
For more information for geeks like me, regarding the shift of tectonic plates, enjoy this link of a lecture done by Professor Robert Butler from the University of Portland. It helps explain more of what is happening and might be of interest especially if you live on the coast in the Pacific Northwest or other places around the ring of fire. In addition, check out the interactive Japan Quake Map.