Quick reminders: If you buy Shades of Morning before July 3, I'll send you my e-booklet "Crazy Kid Moments: 10 Things Kids Taught Me About Life, God, and Living the Adventure" for free! Just email me and let me know you bought the book. I'll start sending out the free e-books later this week. Also, don't forget that you can win a $100 Starbucks gift basket by entering the Books & Brew Cuppa Contest at (http://www.marloschalesky.com/books/fiction/contests/).
Now, in honor of the first chapter of Shades of Morning, when Marnie's Books & Brew is shaken by a real California quake, here's a story and some thoughts that my daughter taught me about facing the earthquakes in life. It happened like this:
The ground shook like newly poured pudding. A picture fell from the wall. Glass splintered. The floor creaked.
I raced into Bethany’s room and leaned over her crib. My hands gripped the wooden sides. Seconds tumbled by. A doll tipped on a shelf beside me. I glanced down at my daughter, wondering how she would handle her first major earthquake. Would she wake up and shriek? Would she cry for Mommy? I held my breath. Two more seconds passed.
Bethany sighed and rolled over. She didn’t wake. She didn’t even whimper. Instead, she slept peacefully on.
Finally, the floor stopped moving, and the walls stopped shaking. Silence descended. I waited, and breathed, and eventually released my white-knuckled grip on the sides of the crib. Then, I bent over and brushed Bethany’s hair back with my fingertips. She cooed in her sleep and stuck her two middle fingers in her mouth.
After a few moments, I picked up Bethany’s doll, gathered up the glass shards on the floor, and made my way back downstairs to where my husband had already turned the television to the news. Soon the reports were rolling in – a 5.2 quake centered just three miles from our house. A few phone lines were down, some homes had lost power, but no major damage was reported.
Bryan glanced at me. “How’s Peanut?
“Didn’t even notice it.” I shrugged my shoulders. “She just kept on sleeping.”
“Through all that?”
That night as I lay in bed waiting for aftershocks, I thought about Bethany’s surprising reaction, or non-reaction, to the earthquake. How could she just keep on sleeping with all that rattling and rolling going on around her? I pondered for several minutes then voiced the question to my husband.
His answer came after a couple seconds. “I dunno. Maybe it was just because it was night-night time. Time to sleep.”
“And she didn’t want to let a little thing like a 5.2 earthquake deter her, huh?”
“Guess not.” Bryan rolled over and ended the conversation.
I lay there and watched the ceiling fan make lazy circles in the dark. Was Bryan right? Was the answer as simple as it was nighttime, and so Bethany slept? If so, I wanted to be like Bethany. I, too, wanted to sleep peacefully when my world shook around me. I wanted to rest in the knowledge that God, my Father, was standing over my crib, protecting me.
I closed my eyes and recalled the serenity on Bethany’s sleeping face. As I did, a verse from the Book of John whispered through my mind. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27, KJV). That was the kind of peace Bethany had exemplified. A peace that defied the logic of the world, a peace that allowed her to rest without fear even as everything shook around her. And that was the kind of peace I wanted, the kind of peace Christ offered me, too.
I know that earthquakes will come (after all, we live in California!). And I also know that there will be day-quakes, times when my day is shaken from the path I’d planned, and life-quakes, times when my life feels like it might fall apart. But when my world shakes around me, I want to continue doing what I should be doing, just like Bethany. Rather than crying, “The sky is falling!” I want to just continue on with God’s will in my life. Jesus tells me, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, KJV).
So, these days when the ground trembles beneath me, I remember Bethany, and I remember to trust the God who is leaning over my crib. Then, I am not afraid, and I can keep on doing whatever it is that God has asked me to do, even when the quake rates a 5.2.