Archive for the 'On Religion' Category

22
Jan
11

Earthquake Phobia

While I’ve never actually lived there, nor ever even experienced one, I can imagine the mental state of someone who is mortally terrified of dying due to an earthquake, yet continues to live in California.

Living in Florida, yes, every season we are in a perpetual threat of the next Katrina; a hurricane so violent that all we know or ever knew would be swept up in a matter of hours and drowned in a just few days; the life we own sunk like a great ship and resurrected and forever altered.

But hurricanes can be predicted.

They can be tracked with their course plotted and the area in which they will impact drawn in with red and orange and yellow circles.  Those who have the means have a chance to gather up old pictures, hand-made christmas ornaments, and baby-feet stamps and pack up all the things that can’t be re-created.  Like we did in ’96 for faux Hurricane Bertha, we had the chance to pack ’em up into two cars until the back glass of the Blazer would barely close and the door was as full as “Uncle Buck’s” closet, dog in tow, with walky talky communication between cars, taking on-the-side-of-the-road restroom breaks as we drive 100 miles west to Valdosta.  The evac took 8 hours bumper to bumper, with your neighbors who all are also packed to the brim, desperate to outpace the approaching storm in the rear.  Like us, they, amidst thier worry, couldn’t help to hold back the kind of grin a kid gets when he’s gotten away with something clever.  Concerned yes, but we were thankful for our safety; thankful for the warning.

But that isn’t the case with earthquakes.  They Happen!!

Imagine the anxiety therein for this person thats scared to death of them.  They fear something that is completely beyond thier control and is impossible to predict.  The Earthquake Phobic (EQP) lives her days scaling paths covered in eggshells.  She tip-e-toes to the bathroom, pausing for a second in between the doorway, holding it with both hands for a minute while she takes a deep breath and then she does her business and gets back to work.  On the way home, she hesitates before accelerating past newly formed green lights.  Home, a tall glass of wine is waiting by her book, which she reads devotedly beneath an old-fashioned lamp that sits proudly at her bedside table.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Ants marching in an early grave, she might as well be scared of air.

The only thing that I can think of to relate to her is when I was around 12 or 14 and still a fear-led Christian.  In that great age of discovery that is adolescence, I was just old enough to sin via stolen cigars and snuff bandits and porn and drinking my friends parent’s vodka.  It was a time that should have had no worries.  But I was also now able to comprehend, on a semi-adult level concepts such as hell and Satan and the Rapture, whence those who were presently in accordance with the will of God would be called up and the rest of us would be doomed to live or die in a failing, plagued world.  It would be a sudden “earth-shattering” event that would change the world I know forever and it began to eat at me, piece by piece, like those ants would if I’d give them the chance.

I was taught or, perhaps, I led myself to think, that in every sin a man would backslide from being saved in every curse word, lie or lustful thought that he commited and he could again win God’s favor by asking for forgiveness and repenting.  It was as if I was perpetually on the San Andreas fault in San Fransisco.  I remember thinking:

“I’d best be good; good as I can be anyway; don’t cuss; don’t even think those words; is it alright to think cuss words?; don’t look at her like that; but damn look at her legs; no, no, no; but look up top; damn, damn, damn; my bad; I repent; now, I’m fine, just in case, I’m good.”

I remember thinking : “Just in case it happens tonight, how fast can I repent so that I’ll still make it?  They say a trumpet will sound first and it’ll be in the twinkle of an eye.  How long will the trumpet play before the twinkle?  And how fast is a twinkle?”

Despite my fear, I just kept on experimenting with the cool things that I was led to by my friends and through my interest and I slept behind prayers and took “calculated risks” in my ventures of sin before I quickly repented and sighed and went on living.  I was eating my cake and having it too and it was fun most of the time, but eventually my EarthQuake Phobia slowly crept deeper – so deep that the fear turned into confusion and the confusion became deceptive and then, at some point, I don’t quite remember when, I just up and figuratively moved from California and then I felt fine, most of the time.

I had to get away from that fault line so as to escape the losing of my mind, but, of course, I’ve never really gotten all the way away.  Now, it lives in me and occasionally visits me idle-y at stoplights and sunny-day desktops.  “What if the life I know ends right now?  Would I be proud of the pictures I took in the doing of today?  Would they make the Uncle Buck Blazer?”

“Do more now today”  I’ll whisper to myself.

“But don’t forsake tomorrow”, I’ll whisper back.

It’s a game-of-catch riddle if I’ve ever heard one and I don’t know the answer.

In the mean time, however, we must find a way to make peace.  We’ve got to keep on searching; keep on doing; never all the one, nor never all the other.  One mustn’t get caught in the doorway like the Earthquake Phobic lady, desperately clutching the jambs in a frenzied worry.  Alternatively, the earth moves every day and  we’ve gotta keep a good hold on what is so as to avoid being crushed by falling debree that really is, understanding that the elusive ping pong ball that is peace-of-mind to a thinking man – it lies in the balance of the day-to-day doing, the nightly what-if preparation and also the looking-forward-to-it adventures of the will-be dreams of the future.  It, this instantaneous triangular equilibrium that is understanding, HAPPENS like an earthquake and it comes upon us without warning and then, for awhile, all that we know changes forever.

Look Forward to Earthquakes

and Live in the Now Wayne,

embracing the change

that’s gonna happen,

whether you believe

it will or not,

Do More Now.

Parenthesized Reflection: (At least, in writing this, I think I now know the reason for the spiritual apathy that voids me always.  Now, at least, every now and then, I’ll look in that direction too; you know, just in case.)




My Previous Vocabulary.

www.mysecretvocabulary.blogspot.com

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