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I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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don’t want to miss it

earthquake
On October 17, 1989, my world shifted.  Literally.  

I was peacefully studying when my Diet Coke spilled, the furniture swayed, a dresser toppled over and I stumbled to the doorway, riding the door jamb like a galloping horse.  My roommate held on for dear life on the fire escape of our rickety old ex-fraternity house.   When it finally stopped, we raced down the stairs and gathered outside. 

I have to admit, I was a little excited.  After four years in California, I had finally felt my first big earthquake.   Then we realized it was a really big one– 7.1 on the richter scale– and were grateful to survive without injury.  The Marina District burned, the Bay Bridge broke, a double-decker San Francisco freeway collapsed, and the World Series was abruptly cancelled at 5:04 pm that day.

My dear boyfriend (later to become my DH) checked on me and then biked away to study (ridiculous work ethic, that guy of mine).  We didn’t realize we would be banned from our now damaged house, and many students would be homeless for weeks.  We bunked together, taped up the windows, and huddled through the aftershocks for days, never knowing when another big one might strike.  It was a major life event.  I still grab my desk, ready to dive under, when I feel the slightest floor tremble (in Michigan!). 

Another friend?  He totally missed the whole thing.  Riding his mountain bike along the foothills, he thought the trail was just extra bumpy.  He wasn’t connected with the earth beneath him, so he didn’t even realize it was shifting. 

This story popped into my mind during a recent discussion of the walk to Emmaus.  In this story, two disciples walked with Jesus without even recognizing him.  They were so caught up in their own lives that they completely missed the miracle in their midst.  I used to wonder, “How could they miss it?”

Now, I totally understand.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily routine, planning and preparing for the next hurdle, that we forget to pay attention to our surroundings.  We forget to connect, and we miss things–the little blessings, the minor miracles, or even the earth shifting beneath us. 

I want to connect.  I want to be present.  I don’t want to miss what’s happening in my midst. 

What about you?  How do you stay in the present?

Creative Commons License photo credit: confusedvision

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6 comments to don’t want to miss it

  • I make an extra effort to notice my natural surroundings in the sunsets, the sunrises, the sun over my shoulder as I write this; how people interact with each other; and most importantly by taking one day at a time. I have learned not to spend wasted energy worrying about things I can’t control. I have learned to trust in the Lord with about 95% of my heart-of course I am human so I sometimes falter and doubt and have moments of what if questions. And I try to live as if every day is my last one on Earth, moving on from regrets, learning from yesterday’s mistakes, and treating each new day as a new start. It is so much easier that way.

    Annie’s last blog post..In the Saddle of a Pony Car

  • I missed a big earthquake in L.A. because it hit while I was still in the air, preparing to land. But one of the aftershocks woke me up that night. My then-boyfriend (no husband) found me out on the balcony, shell-shocked, watching the water lap over the edge of the pool.

    I think it’s a never-ending challenge to live in the present, not unlike the challenge to achieve balance. But being out in nature helps me. And stopping to enjoy simple things, joyful moments.

    Great post.

    charrette’s last blog post..Give, Said the Little Stream

  • How do I stay in the present? Good question.

    Usually, it’s through my kids. They keep me connected, and grounded. They are wise, with their childlike faith.

    Another great post.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..I *Heart* My Favorite Pig Farmer

  • pam

    Annie: Thanks for the reminders. I’m working on getting to that 95% rate of trust. You inspire me!

    Charrette: Those earthquake memories stick with us forever, don’t they? And yes, the simple things to ground us. Thank you.

    Jennifer: Ah, the beauty of children. They definitely keep us grounded (and on our toes!).

  • This post resonated with me. It’s so true, how we all get caught up in multitasking — on our way to accomplishing so-called big things. From the perspective of middle age, when I look back I realize that it was the small, ordinary moments/blessings of daily life that were most precious — when I slowed down long enough to really see and appreciate them

    Cindy L’s last blog post..The art of motherhood

  • [...] have been near the epicenter of a strong 7.1 earthquake, but in a wealthier place with architecture built to withstand the earth’s movement.  Few [...]

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