Personal Earthquakes

Oct 26, 2011 by

Personal earthquakes. I’ve had a series of them lately. Some have been small tremors, like the smattering of persistent and color resistant gray hair, straight gray hair, peppered within the thick mass of my curly, bleached light brown ones. Others, dare I say more even, have been the leveling kind, like the doubts that have dogged my lifelong faith causing me to retreat from my faith-based job and communities; my children finding future away from our home; and – speaking of home – leaving ours of 24 years in Colorado to go and find a new one in the sometimes sunshine all of the time fickle skies of Seattle, Washington. Yeah. I’m talking major, 9.5 on the Richter Scale personal earthquakes that have left me sifting through the rubble of my life and trying to make sense of the broken pieces my hands have grasped as though they are all I have to remind me of who, what, how and why I used to be.

Personal earthquakes. Natural disasters.

Last night, as I lay in bed with Marc, tears flowed from my eyes as I talked about my frustration at not being able to find a job, the occasional but intense loneliness that I feel in the isolation of my days, the envy I have of my friends, still so engaged in the blessed sameness of life that I don’t have, and the utter fear I entertain that I, perhaps, have already experienced the best of my life – so safely defined and ordered – my future too fluid and nebulous to feel any confidence in. Shit.

Previously, these feelings of melancholy or confusion would have been the impetus to prayer with Jesus, but, well, he IS the ultimate source of all this confused melancholy and, therefore, not currently an option as its remedy. So instead of the heart-to-hearts we used to have, I stand in one corner and he in the other, as we eye one another suspiciously, as much prepared to spar as to embrace. Tricky Jesus.

As tears stung my eyes, Marc held my gaze, as if willing me to optimism, expectancy and a perspective of myself as he sees me, “Nicole, as I walk around on any given day, I rarely encounter anyone as smart or kind as you are . . ” I love Marc.

He then asked me, “So, now that you have the time and opportunity, what do you want to do?” What do I want to do? That’s a question that I have spent a life wanting desperately to answer but not truly daring to ask with the innumerable obligations of parenthood, work, and community preventing me from even entertaining it at the risk of disappointment. But then all that quaking and shaking caused the boundaries that used to restrain me to come tumbling down and I find myself able to see beyond tonight’s dinner, farther than Friday night high school football games, and into wide open spaces that both call to me and scare the crap out of me. What do I want to do?

Well, this morning I wanted to write this. So, I did. We’ll see what I want to do later, tomorrow, next week, for the rest of my life. Whatever I do, I want to rebuild – rebuild purpose, community, calling, belief and my service to the world. I’ll rebuild, of course, until the next earthquake levels everything and reminds me of the one constant and sure thing that there is . . . the hand of God, which does all of the damn shaking in the first place.

Peace and Blessings,

Nicole Walters

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1 Comment

  1. ‘what do you want to do?’ I like this Marc fellow.

    I hear you deep in the core of my being, my sweet friend.

    I occasionally canvass the landscape which is the fallout from my own personal rubble, which has been my son’s journey (and thus, my own), and I have forced myself to view it this way:

    Have you ever seen the landscape after a wildfire and you just can’t stand to look at the devastation? You canNOT imagine the new life and possibility. All you can see is ash, and you long for the green trees, the wildflowers, the LIFE, rather than the blackened sticks before you.

    And yet…somehow…life emerges. Remarkable, miraculous life grows, nurtured by the ash itself.

    I wait with you, my friend. In the rubble of your quake and the rubble of my wildfire.

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