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In the aftermath of an earthquake

A Christian Science perspective.

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The earthquake in central Italy earlier this week brought back some jarring memories of my own experience with an earthquake, but it also reminded me of helpful insights that provided comfort and healing.

One reason I hadn't wanted to move from New York to California some years ago was my fear of earthquakes. And soon after we'd moved, lying in bed asleep early one January morning, my husband and I found ourselves very near the epicenter of the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

It was an experience unimaginable and shocking; I thought we were going to die. Incredibly, though, in the midst of the rocking and shaking of our home, I remember knowing instantly at the very core of my being that life is spiritual, and that God is All. I was still afraid, but I felt safe. There was so much noise that it sounded as if a train were in the room, so my husband never heard me shout, "God is Love," which instinctively flew out of me, as I felt impelled to affirm what was real and permanent for myself and others.

I never thought I would experience first hand such a disaster, and I couldn't believe I would get over the mental turmoil it threw me into. In the early morning dark, climbing over fallen furniture and broken glass, we met neighbors outside. Those native to California assured me this quake was not typical. Thankfully, our cluster of homes seemed fairly stable, and beside a few bumps and bruises, folks were physically all right. We were all deeply grateful for our protection. But as we picked up the pieces of our lives, my anxiety grew. Sudden aftershocks were frightening and were a gripping reminder of the instability of the ground that before had seemed so solid.

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