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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Earthquakes Strike

Ever been in an earthquake? It is a terrifying experience when the ground beneath you is not solid. Nothing to hold on to, at the mercy of outside forces. My heart goes out to the people of Japan, they have a long road to recovery.

When our foundation is shaken to its core, what do we hold on to? When the outside world is not safe, what centers us from within? A life-altering event can have the same effect as an earthquake. A death, divorce, financial crisis, marriage, a baby are all life changing events. Even though some are positive, they are still frightening and throw us off our axis. When tragedy struck my world last month, I felt I was shoved off a moving train. Bruised, screaming, shocked, amazed that such a powerful force didn't actually kill me, I'm in awe of the human spirit and how it can survive such a blow to the soul. What empowered me to get up after being thrown off a moving train, dust myself off and start walking? My answer was faith, trust in the unknown. Because I don't know what else to call it. It was not hope, I had none. Hope requires positive thinking about the future, as in "I hope for a better tomorrow" or "I hope we win the lottery". What is hope anchored to? Hope is light and airy, and needs to be weighted down for substance. I believe hope is anchored to faith. I had faith but not hope, so can we have hope without faith? I'm not sure. Faith and trust sustain us through the darkness, even when we don't understand how, even when we can't see. For some, faith means God and religion, to some of us it means trust in the all-knowing, that which is beyond mortal understanding.

I'm not telling you what you should believe, I am merely tossing a few thoughts out there for you to chew on. In Japanese, the word "shin" encompasses faith, belief and trust. In Sanskrit, that word is "shraddha". Beautiful aren't they?

I wish I could tell you a personal earthquake will never strike you, but that would be naive of me. All I wish is that when it does, you can find a little faith, hang on to it for dear life and wait for the quaking to stop.