Wow! What a morning! I quite often wake up around 4:30 a.m., but today was quite different than normal. (BTW, my alarm is set for 5:00, but being a light sleeper, I tend to wake up before I want to get up. Could that be God's way of saying, "Get up, man"?) This morning I may have been stirring already, or I may have been awakened by, yes, my first earthquake.
I felt and heard the rumble and the shaking. What an odd sensation! (Yep, pretty obvious I've never lived in California. :-) And it just went on and on. I thought it must have gone on for about 30 seconds, but official reports say 20 seconds. At first I thought it was a truck passing by on the street, but as the obvious undulation continued, and stronger than a truck would make, it hit me: "So this must be an earthquake. I sure hope the roof doesn't fall on us." (Yes, that's what raced through my head.) When I didn't hear any cracking or crumbling I just lay there for the ride.
After getting up and getting on with the morning routine of Matins, some reading, prayers with the family, and breakfast, I discovered on the news that the quake's epicenter was about 128 miles east of St. Louis, outside a little town called West Salem, Illinois. The original quake registered at 5.2 on the Richter scale and occurred at 4:36 a.m. Now we've had an aftershock that occurred at 10:14 a.m. and measured 4.5.
News reports say that the original quake was felt as far away as Des Moines, Iowa, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Fr. May, did you feel it?), and even Atlanta, Georgia.
Wow! What an amazing experience (for those of us outside of California, that is ;-). Talk about a time to realize just how small we human beings really are. Talk about an experience that reinforces our need for the God who loves us in Jesus Christ! Talk about an opportunity to repent and say, "Lord, have mercy on us!" (See Luke 13:1-5 for the best response to any disaster, natural or otherwise.)
What a great way to learn to pray with Psalm 148:7-8: "Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!" Yes, even earthquakes fulfill God's word that calls us to repent and rely on Him! Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that we need You! Thank You, Lord, for having mercy on us through the quake, keeping it small, and keeping us safe! Thank You, Lord, that no matter what befalls us, You love us with an everlasting love!