Monday, August 29, 2011

Praise God!

Surprise Lilies at Whitehall ~ 8/23/11
In trying to come up with a title for this post Praise God was the only one that fit. As most of you know our little town of Mineral, and most specifically Cuckoo, was the epicenter of a 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday, August 23rd. It started at 1:51 pm as I and other LCHS folks were starting fourth block classes. One other LCHS teacher and myself were in the Library Pit for iPad training when the school began to rumble and then shake. Books fell around us along with trophies from the top of the bookshelves. Ceiling tile dust and debris rained down as we crawled for cover underneath the library tables.
The quake seemed to last forever. I don't remember when it did stop because I was in such shock. My guess is that it lasted two minutes. We hovered in the library pit for what seemed like ten minutes before evacuating. Once outside I wanted to know officially what had just happened. I wanted to hug all the kids that were visibly shaken and crying. And I wanted to get in my car and go get my own kids. No cell phones were calling out, some texts would go through. Christian and I exchanged text messages confirming we were both OK and then didn't talk until I got in the car to leave school.
Once outside of LCHS, I sat by a student who was in the library at the time because he was an early release student. This means he normally would be leaving early to go to his job, but didn't have to work that day so he rode the bus. Looking back on the day, I know God put him next to me, unknowingly to this student, to help calm me and my fears. As we were talking about what we thought the quake might have been while in the moment, this senior student said he was hoping it was Jesus coming back! What high school kid logically thinks that? Once he knew it wasn't an explosion, and it wasn't a bomb, he wondered if it was Jesus! Really? I think about the day when Jesus comes back but honestly don't picture it as a day when I'm here on earth. This boy was Mr. Calm and talked to me almost like he was the teacher and I was the shaken student. I am thankful to have met that young man, and thankful God introduced us that day.
Once the students were loading buses I jumped into my car to get my babies. Grayson was at the Betty Queen Center sleeping when the quake hit. I praise God because he was safe along with his teachers and classmates. Savannah was at Jouett ES in reading groups when the quake hit there. She did not seem to be that scared from the days events. I'm not sure if it wasn't that bad at Jouett or she didn't realized what was or could have happened. She said they lost lights and then went outside. Once Jouett was clear to go back in, all the students returned to the building and tried to resume some sort of normalcy until dismissal. That is the difference between being a mile vs. ten miles from the epicenter and being in a building that's 25 years old vs. 75 years old.
Our church, Gilboa Christian Church, (built in 1834) sustained major structural damage that is going to require rebuilding. Savannah said it best when she said, "We have to rebuild Mama, that's God's House!" And so the rebuilding began spiritually for us as we started planning how to rebuild our church. Praise God we are all alive and safe!



So thankful that you all are okay. I thought about you as soon as I heard the epicenter was in Mineral...
We felt it here in Baltimore. People were running around my office, not knowing what to do. In a way it reminded me of 9/11 (I was working a block away from the Empire State Bldg during the attacks). So scary.

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