It’s doing it again—only worse.
I’ve never seen it so bad here, the mad rushing of water out of heaven and over meadow and lawn and garden and roadway. We’re house-parked, sequestered, and going nowhere, but safe. “No non-emergency driving.” And what can we do but pray: for evacuees, and rescuers risking life?
Meanwhile, Texas: dry, so dry, and burning, burning, and more people evacuated and more homes gone.
Too much or too little. And things unexpected get shaken, like buildings where we sat, not many days back, buildings that were never quake-shaken before. Unfamiliar rattling somehow surreal, impossible but true.
The day my mother died, I heard it on the radio: “The things that can be shaken will be, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain.” I’d turned it on out of boredom, sweet boredom, in a time I thought now finally crisis-free. And somehow the words flew straight to my heart, said, “This is for you“—which made no sense, everything settled serene for once, a summer of freedom ahead and birthday plans on the phone that same morning, with Mom, sweet Mom.
And the voice on the radio spoke of floods and people gone and a man standing alone on the bank of a river, his house gone, his family gone, all the life he knew gone, and him just repeating, repeating, “What am I going to do?” And the things that can be shaken, shaken, and shaking, still shaking and shaking.
And the message: that anything you count on, anything you love, can be gone in a flash, in a blink, in a whimper. And there you are, standing on a floodbank, bare of all you’d known.
So what could you count on? Nothing…
Always Jesus. Always the same: yesterday, today, forever. Never shaken, never changed, never abandoning His own. And so it is okay. It still will be okay.
And I knew, somehow I knew, God was speaking to me in that message. But it made no sense. Nothing was shaking. For once in months, years, things stood solid. I thought…
And the program ended and three minutes later—no more than three—the telephone rang—and who would call at 10:03?
My father. His voice was shaking:
“Are you sitting down? No? Well, sit down….
“… Mom died tonight.”
The heart attack, the fumbling, bumbling around at home, everything shaken. Gone.
And my mom, I did so love my dear mom.
But it was okay, somehow. I knew it was okay. Because how could I have ever prepared myself better than God had prepared me that night?
For the shaking. For the flooding away of a life I held dear, and Dad there alone, all alone in the night in the house, four hours away, and shaking…
“No, don’t come now! Please wait until morning! I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right.” I knew he was fearing more shaking, more loss, and I waited.
In the stillness, in the darkness, while in the next room, my toddler slept, unshaken. And I wondered at the coincidence, another holy happenstance, like so many lately, in every event of shaking.
I shake, often. And, more often than I like to say, fall apart in the shaking.
But God, but Christ, remains. Unshaken. To steady me, pull me back together. The same. Yesterday, today… and forever… where I’ll see my sweet mother again. And Him Who always remains.