Higher Ground

Alright, how coincidental is it that I would be writing about rough waters and end up dodging an actual Tsunami?

Last Monday I received a call from Barbara, a mentor of mine for years, asking if I could get on a plane Wednesday (as in 2 days later) bound for of all places Hawaii. Could I go, all expenses paid, to join a staff of women who were to teach university students from Third World countries about professional protocol? My assigned topic: Demonstrating Self Confidence. (I wasn’t on the “first string,” but the lady originally teaching this class had a family emergency).
I didn’t really care about being second string. I just knew I wanted and needed to go.
18 hours later, without purse or script (at least without my PowerPoint together), I kissed my husband and 3 children goodbye and hopped on a Honolulu-bound plane. My first trip to the Island.
I didn’t even feel mother-guilt.
8 hours after that, I’m in a beach house, listening to the waves lap on the shore (still not feeling mother guilt) and gazing into the darkness through the palm trees near my window. (While intermittently trying to throw my thoughts together for the next morning’s classes)
It was hard to sleep that night…feeling the pull of the tide and the beckon of the full moon, calling me to come and take a peek at the still and pristine North Hawaiian shoreline.
The pull I felt was literal.
It was almost like the Elements knew I’d been yearning to connect with SOME kind of Paradise (after my January from Hell). Like they wanted some kind of acknowledgment of the majesty of their creation or to say to me, “Ah, you’re here.”

This picture was taken with my phone of said full moon and calling-to-me shoreline.
8 hours post-sleepless night, Im walking on a private beach alone marveling at the wonder of Gods handiwork around me, bending my knees in prayer, squaring my face to the sun, and wishing I could spend the entire day just relishing in sand and sea and sunshine and praise.
I actually cried I was so overcome with the beauty of that morning. (Seriously, I did. Im a mom from Utah, and no world traveler).
It’d been waaaaay too long since Id felt Gods presence so powerfully in nature.
A Sacred Station indeed.

This picture was taken the morning I blubbered all over the shoreline. I now have a locked-in visual image whenever I need to go to that “special place” in my mind during meditation!
Fast-forward 2 days and 8 exhausting-but-rewarding classes later, and Im notDemonstrating a whole lot of Self Confidence. Its 3 am and one of the nicest ladies in our group calls into my room, Cherie, dont panic, but meet us in the living room. Were gathering for a prayer.
When someone says not to panic, isn’t that an indicator theres an underlying causefordoing so?
My first thought was that an intruder was on the premises and we all had to congregate for protection. (In retrospect, I would have preferred that). Anyway, I throw myself out of bed and race to the next beach house to be with the other ladies, hoping the intruder isnt close behind. Im panting and last on the scene, and all I can see are concerned faces in a circle. Maybe they all just looked a little more somber to me because they werent wearing make-up?
Were all looking to Char, the sweet native of Laie (our intruder) whos bearing some interesting news. 8.8 earthquake in Chile, definite Tsunami headed our way as a result, must evacuate immediately. Official local instructions (as we see on the TV screen) are to grab food, water, and other provisions for 5-7 days. And head to higher ground.
Bill, the sole male member of the staff and designated-everything, offers our prayer. I love the calm, peaceful, its-gonna-be-okay shift that settles after a group prayer. Particularly when its offered by the voice of reason, the voice of one God-fearing man amongst a throng of jumping-to-worst-case scenario women.
Despite the assurance wed be safe after Bills prayer, there was still a degree of excitement mixed with urgency and disbelief as we prepared to evacuate. Id never been in a real-life natural disaster scenario like this and I discovered Im about as low-key as it comes in such circumstances. Was it peace or simply detachment? I wasnt sure, but I was not proceeding in great haste and had definitely retreated inward.
Someone rips maps of the island out of the phone book and distributes to all drivers in our caravan (impressive; it wouldnt have crossed my consciousness). Another approaches each member of the group to exchange cells phone #s in case we became separated (equally impressive; I was nowhere near that line of thinking). Another forcefully commands me not to primp as she sprints past my room (which kinda irked me, as Id intended all along to go au naturale and was simply packing my cosmetics). Someone else jumps in her car to get in long lines at the gas station before anyone in the group knew where she was going (we called her to come back with assurances a half tank would be plenty to get to our destination).
I’m pretty sure I was the group sloth. The most monumental contribution I made to our evacuation efforts was to saunter to the fridge to check for bottled water (which someone had already packed). Oh, and I did think to text my husband (at 6 am Utah time) to tell himI was about to get wiped out by a Tsunami. I thought he deserved some early morning adventure, too.
You learn what youre made of in these kinds of situations! As the youngest member of our group, on some level I took an emotional backseat to the happenings around me.I think I learned how important it is to be mentally engaged and emotionally present, even with a group of think-ahead, powerful and capable people. Someone always needs your peace, your inspiration, your strength, your presence.
And you need theirs.

I could keep going with the high drama that unfolded after our evacuation, but this is turning out to be much too long of a post! I grew to love these women and wanted their safety as much as my own. Our group goal was simply to move to higher ground, and once we’d found our way there, there was great security. This has layers of spiritual meaning all over the place, so I’ll not expound on the obvious.
The Tsunami itself was what the media termed a dodged bullet, in that no damage was done, no lives lost. But the faith-filled locals at church the next morning called it The Staying by the Hand of God.
My heart aches for those in Chile and for those in Haiti who are desperately grieving and suffering from the after-effects of recent earth-rumblings. We know, as it prophesies in Matthew 24, to expect earthquakes in divers (many) places during these end times. Within 12 hours of the 8.8 Chile quake, there was a 7.0 in Japan and a 6.3 in Argentina. These clusters areno seismic coincidence. The Earth is groaning to be cleansed. In fact, the day after the Tsunami scare, we all noted how restless and angry the seas seemed, as though they had a message.
I think the message is to move to Higher Ground.

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