Monday, September 5, 2011

Virginia Earthquake

Saturday, as I sat on top of a mountain (yes, really!), I told two friends that I really needed to write a blog post about "the" earthquake, but that it would be senseless to write so late. I mean, honestly, everything that can be said about it has been said about it, right?

All except my bit of the story.

So, what do you want to hear? An explanation of where I was, what I thought, how I panicked? ...or an explanation of what in the world I was doing sitting on top of a mountain on Saturday?

That one is easy. I climbed up there. All 1.5 miles. Lovely climb. My favorite mountain in the world. It is nothing but bare rocks at the top, so the view is unimaginable unless you've been there.

So we were sitting on rocks at the top of the world discussing blogs and earthquakes.

Just in case you are a reader from another country, or the other side of my country, let me explain: I live in Virginia. On August 28th, an unexpected 5.8 earthquake rattled life all up and down the east coast of America. We felt it.

Everybody has their own story about where they were and what they were doing when the earthquake hit. I doubt we'll ever forget it. It was the first - and maybe the only - earthquake I've ever been in. (Honestly, an earthquake in Virginia?)

Actually, I didn't panic. It took me about 10 seconds to realize that this was not a plane overhead, a train close by, or our friendly neighborhood quarry giving off a long blast. The word "earthquake" hit my mind, and I suddenly knew. It took approximately 2 more seconds for my heart rate to kick into high gear.

My first thought was to warn everyone. "But who would believe me?" Honestly - in the midst of what could have been a emergency situation, for all I knew, I was worried about what people thought of me. I'd rather not analyze this part of my reaction.

My next thought was wonder - how bad was this going to get? And I wondered if I should try to find safety. A doorway was nearby, and I stood in it. The ground was still vibrating, and the loud rumbling continued steadily. A friend of mine stood in the doorway across from me. "Do you know what's going on?" she asked (she's from California).

"It feels like an earthquake!" I replied, trying to sound skeptical in case I was wrong.

"That's exactly what it is!" she replied.

We stood there in silence and waited for something to happen. I thought about the plates miles and miles beneath me, grinding over one another, affecting so many people. God was moving the world - and those atheists couldn't do a thing! I found it quite satisfying to think how frustrated they must be to realize it. Then I realized I was quite helpless - and the concept of my own insignificance in the realm of the universe nearly suffocated me.

I didn't know what to expect. When the noise and shaking just kept going, and going, and going, I began to wonder if something really big was going to happen. Would the building collapse? Would our town become a disaster area? Were people being hurt?

"This is what the end times will be like..." Then a breath of wonder caught in my throat. Could it be?

Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped. It was over. We were still here.

My pulse was throbbing in my wrist and chest. My legs were having their own private little earthquake. But, strangely enough, the sensation in my mind was one of disappointment.

That's it? I wanted to feel it again, just to know I hadn't dreamed it.

A few minutes later, I realized why I was so disheartened.

It could have been the rapture.

But it wasn't.

I suddenly ached so much to see Jesus that my eyes got misty. "Why don't You come, Lord? When will it be?" There was no regret, no longing to live "a few more" days here. For that glorious moment, all I wanted was Him. And I was sad He hadn't come.

Then I realized what would have happened if that HAD been the rapture. There is so much to do! So many people to reach! So much to say! Reality slapped me.

Facebook came alive moments after the quake. I read the posts, imagining what facebook will look like moments after the rapture. What will they say? Oh, the panic that will surge in their hearts! The hopelessness of it all! My heart aches for them - and yearns to spare them that.

There is much to do, folks. Much to pray for. We've been given a precious gift - time. Time to work, and preach, and implore.

Let's not waste it.


Amanda said...

Wow, exciting. My grandma from Delaware also thought and hoped that it was the rapture she was feeling. She was a little disappointed.

You are absoluteness right. We need to be more ready, more aware that it really could be any day. I can't wait!

BTW, I miss your posts, I got all excited when I saw that you had posted again. : )

Jenny P. said...

We experienced an earthquake here in central Illinois about 3 years ago, in the middle of the night. My tummy felt like jelly for days! I can honestly say I didn't share your thoughts about the rapture, but knowing what I know now, my heart aches for it :) Thanks for sharing!

Amber said...

Jenny - such an unusual occurrence certainly shakes your nerves up for a couple of days! Isn't it crazy to think that earthquakes can just suddenly hit random places....anytime God decides to let them? :)

Amanda - thanks for the encouragement! :) It makes me want to write more. Bear with me - lots of craziness in life right now! :)