For a long time Martha couldn’t recognize herself. She felt as if an earthquake had shattered the ground she’d once so safely stood on, and now she stumbled and made her way in this uneven territory bumping into walls, and the broken pieces of “life.” Scared, unable to think quite straight, she tried to figure out where to start building, once the dust settled. Would it ever settle? It seemed to her that the dust blew up again during the night, making it impossible for her to see clearly. She felt lost amidst the dust and the fog that seemed to be conspiring against her. When will I see through it all?
What happens after an earthquake? Everything around you violently shifts, the noise is unbearable, strange, new, but after that baffling tremor, comes the silence. You can hear the rescue team’s sirens in the distance, making their way around the catastrophic areas at intervals. But it all feels disconnected, as if this were a different reality, one you look down at, one that is foreign to you.
Life shatters us. As life shattered Martha. How to go back to the time before the earthquake? Impossible. Because when life brings an earthquake, nothing will ever be the same. Even if the dust settles, your outlook will have forever changed.
For some, this can be something to celebrate, a chance to change, start over. But to Martha, the earthquake was so unearthing that she faced every new day dazed and confused. She was changed, and with change a new perspective arose. No, Martha didn’t want to go back to the time before the earthquake, but she didn’t know how to deal will life after it either.
What could she do but play it by ear? One careful step at a time. More earthquakes would come, and she knew now that the challenges would be different. But no matter, first she had to wait for the dust to settle before the next earthquake hit home. Maybe next time she’d be more prepared.