After the EarthquakeApr 08, 2009
by Richard Lawton
photo by Angelo Giordano
Inner tension builds when you decide to “stay the course” and put off responding to a “calling”
Hearing the news of the earthquakes that devastated parts of central Italy the first week of April 2009 served as another reminder of the uncertainty and preciousness of this life, and the importance of not squandering it.
It also reminded me of another earthquake in late 2005 in India and northern Pakistan. Final estimates are that it killed 100,000 people and left 3.5 million people homeless. I had been grappling with the question of whether to change the course of my life or not. I had a vague but growing sense that I was being called to make some significant changes, but my rational mind kept coming up with a long list of very practical reasons to keep doing what I was doing. I made a good living, was able to provide for my family and take nice vacations, liked and respected the people I worked with and had a nice title of “Senior Vice President.”
Both of my children were working towards rites of passage in the form of graduations (college and high school), and I somehow felt I was approaching one of my own. After much internal debate, I had pretty much decided that it would be foolish to leave what I had, and that I should be grateful for what most people would envy—and feel a little guilty for not appreciating it more—so I should “stay the course,” keep my nose to the grindstone and put any dreams on hold, at least for the time being.
I heard the news of the Indian earthquake on the radio as I drove to the airport for a business trip. During an unexpected delay at the airport, I realized that the matter was far from settled when I wrote this: