Earthquakes are caused by the rapid release of elastic energy (mechanical energy stored in the configuration of a physical system as work is used to distort its volume or shape). I feel like so much has changed or began to change (the rapid release of energy) in my life in the last few weeks and my “shape is being distorted,” if you will. If you think about it, this is a really good thing for me, for anyone who is need of desperate change in their life. Thinking back on the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, I can’t help but find similarities in my own life. This quake took the lives of so many people, destroyed homes and buildings, and forever changed the way this nation would live. A lot of the damage that was caused was because the quake’s shallow depth, the geological setting of the quake, and the nature of its buildings. When I look back over my life the last four or five years, I can see that the places I allowed myself to be or where I chose to be played a major role in why I went through a lot of the hurt that I experienced. So many times, I had a way out but didn’t take it because of many different factors and it wasn’t until I experienced the biggest hurt of all that I really chose to leave and find somewhere else to establish a new beginning. In Haiti, the buildings were built so poorly and because of this, they could not withstand the 7.0 magnitude quake. I can relate to this as well. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the wrong things rather than making sure that my own life was in tact, so much so that when I did experience the biggest hurt of all, it crushed everything inside me. I was already weak, but this hurt struck the core of my heart. The response to the nation of Haiti and their needs has been incredible. My sweet aunt Roxanne that just passed away in April was a huge part of the rebuilding of Haiti. Before she passed away, she traveled back and forth many times bringing supplies and in the process built relationships with so many people there. She was the truest definition of love and generosity. But unlike the rebuilding of Haiti that began, I chose to let the parts of my heart that were hurting just lay there. I didn’t want to rebuild. I wanted to dwell on the fact that I had been hurt and I had the mentality that because of this, I had the right to be mad. I had permission to be mean on days that I was hurting and bitterness slowly but surely began to take residence in my heart. And this bitterness made me resentful. It began to interfere with relationships in my life with people that I love the most. Even when I smiled, my eyes told a different story. It took someone very special to my heart, someone that cares about me deeply, being blunt and honest with me for me to realize that this was the turn that my heart had taken. I don’t want to be bitter. People sense bitterness from a mile away. Feelings of denial, rejection, shame, guilt, and numbness are things associated with being bitter and angry. This isn’t me. This is not the Rachel Cantwell who was class clown, who was voted most talkative. This is not the Rachel Cantwell who never met a stranger. I’m known for my laughter. This week, one of my very best friends from middle school and all through high school was in town on leave from the Marine Corps. Several of us who have been friends for years got together for a mini class reunion and they all agreed that my laughter was what had drawn them to me all those years ago when we met for the first time in middle school. They said, “We all knew when Rachel was in the building because we could hear that laugh a mile away.” That’s me. So I guess if it’s taken a so called earthquake to tear down my walls so that I can began to rebuild, so be it. I know the potential, the love, the creativity, the strength that lies within me and it’s with all those things that I can begin to rebuild.
Love from the epicenter,