We Need Earthquakes

This Thanksgiving season is always a reading marathon for me! I find myself catching up on the ten books I’m half-way through done reading…yes I know I have issues…

One book that I’m furiously reading and getting into is entitled, The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson. In it there is a quote that made me stop shared by her Uncle Billy, the eccentric seismologist and owner of the story’s bookshop Prospero.

Here is the insightful exchange from page 45:

“We can’t stop earthquakes from happening, but you don’t have to be afraid. After every earthquake, scientists like me review the damage and we use that to make our buildings and bridges stronger, so there’s less damage in the future.”

“So we need earthquakes?” I asked.

“You could think of it that way. We need earthquakes to learn. Understanding prepares us for the future…”

This exchange is packed with powerful insights into our own lives. Earthquakes are the events of our lives that rock us. The list of events that can rock our daily lives could be endless from light rocking such as missing a small deadline to heavy core shattering events such as losing a close family member.

Through all of life’s earthquakes, both big and small, comes lessons that we can learn about bettering ourselves and loving others. Yet, many times we simply allow the earthquake to rattle through, cause extensive damage and we leave it at that. We pull together the fallen pieces and move on…That works, as I found out after several earthquakes that I tried to bury, but only for a period of time…

Uncle Billy, however, offers us further insight on what we need to do after the earthquake ravages through. Give ourselves healthy time and space to assess the damage and learn what it teaches us about ourselves.

Shoot we missed that critical deadline…after we ensure it gets turned in…here’s how a personal assessment could look:

  • Why did we miss that deadline?
  • What could we have done differently to meet the deadline?
  • Who could help keep us accountable for meeting smaller deadlines leading up to the bigger, final deadline?
  • How might this change the way we approach scheduling?
  • How many other projects were we trying to balance at the same time?

On life-altering earthquake events such as losing a loved one, our personal assessments will look quite different from person to person:

  • Journaling or capturing memories spent with our loved one…
  • Considering the life forming advice shared by our loved one with us…
  • Thinking to how their lives touched the lives of those around them and how we too could model such living…
  • Comforting and loving those who were deeply affected by our loved one’s passing…

Earthquakes are not easy.

Earthquakes are not fun.

Earthquakes are not stoppable.

They happen daily and they will not stop anytime soon for as long as we are on this earth. So, where does that leave us? It means that we need to recognize that ALL of us experience earthquakes in our lives. We must ask ourselves:

How do we support each other through those moments?

How do we exhibit grace and love towards each other during those earth-shattering times? 

Sometimes earthquakes are less about our own personal growth and more about growing our capacity to be loved and supported by others who care about us. Each of us are blessed by those who care about us, let us always be willing to accept their love and grace.

Have a wonderful rest of the Thanksgiving holiday and be safe on this Black Friday!

Take care my friends and thanks for reading!

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