October 01, 2004
The Path of the Righteous- the journey continues
Glorious Sunset at Seal Beach courtesy of Webshots
I went looking for photos of the Whittier area where I was living in 1987 when the earthquake struck 16 years ago today and really set the course for the chain of events that I have been speaking of in my last few posts. I know that I took photos of the house and likely I will find them as I am preparing to embark on a digital capturing of the best of my paper photos before they mildew and rot away in this damp climate. If I find one I will post it.
Ther other thing is that the picture that I wish I could show you is that of me on October 15-16 1988, at 2 am walking through my house alone, electricy off from the magnatude 5.1 aftershock a year later
holding my loveable tiger kitty Creature, and singing to her the new song that I had learned at church that day...
The path of the righteous
is like the light of dawn that shines brighter
brighter and brighter
The path of the righteous
is like the light of dawn that shines brighter
brighter to the full day brighter to the full day
brighter to the full day...
(song by Danny Devenny, God Bless, wherever you are!)
I was walking in a light that was unseen to the naked eye. The song was simple and I had not heard such in a church before. I remember now that my parents had forbidden me to go to Rives Park to that "hippie church" which grew to become one of the largest fellowships in America Calvary Chapel of Downey, would to God that they had my life would have been so different. I would have found my way much sooner I think. I was to find that way at another off shoot of that denomination, and in a way I am glad for the church was smaller and I was absorbed into the family quickly much more so than I would have been had I gone to Downey with its morning attendance of thousands.
But in the 20/20 hindsight, I see that it was the music that scared them. It wasnt just the electronics and the drums and the clapping (irreverence they said)but it was the freedom of expression...The fruit of the changes that came in the 60's flowered in this church that was founded by a burnt out druggie that was mentored by a little bald guy that had church on the beach in a tent so the hippies and the surfers could come in shorts and bare feet. That freedom of expression in the worship was what eventually kept me there all those years later, and certainly, once I was allowed to become a part of leading that worship myself, the music changed me and formed me spiritually. Eventually at Hosanna, the music and the message failed to match up and there was a hypocracy that I fought hard to deny until it hit me in the face... We all learn that our "parents" (so to speak) arent all we thought they were...We all grow up and have to leave home and find our way in the world both physically and spiritually. I am doing that now. I find comfort in knowing that God hasnt changed, He promised to stay with me and He has...even when it seems that I cant perceive it...
I carried Makoa around last night and sang to him in remaniciance. I was awake at that 2o'clock hour, wasnt feeling well and he likes that, mostly the carrying part but if I sing to them the kitties swish their tails in a happy way so I think they like it. It was so still in the house..., just the fountain in the entry way running and the sounds of the frogs in the trees. We are getting rains now good as it has been so dry...
But in my minds ear, I can hear the sounds of those two Octobers, I can feel the record setting heat of that October 1st 1987, it was 104 at 7:42 am and reached a record setting 112 degrees and many scientist thought that the heat set off the new fault under the Whittier Narrows Dam, and along the San Gabriel River. I had lived a stones throw from that river nearly all of my life and never had such an experience, neither had anyone else that we knew...the sickening roar from under the earth, the first shock wave hit our house sending water from our swimming pool tsunami fashion, up against the house so hard, and in such volume that water pour in throught the open windows facing the back and was dripping off the eves of the roof... the pool was missing 3 feet of water, thats how much got pitched out... The sound of timbers breaking in the garage, and things falling in there damaging my car... the block wall fences colapsing...the smell of wet earth and sweat and burnt coffee on the hot coffee maker that was on the top of the pile of everything that had been inside my kitchen cabinets that was now in a heap on my kitchen floor.
The terror that my husband newly back to work was going to be in the testing lab powering up a new room sized pump for a nuclear reactor cooling system that morning with 1000's of pounds of steam pressure...( it held under the shaking, Jeff had been under it looking at welds, broken ankle and all he scrambled out but the welds held, a miracle really)
It took weeks to clean up and the three of us, in our twenties but really emotionally very immature, were tramatized beyond the norm. We sustained the only major damage to a house in the city of Norwalk, and inspectors scratched their heads at it... But it was a perfect storm so to speak, that did the damage. A soil engineer later saw right way that the pool maganified the shockwave and the house foundation was right up against it. Same with the more casually built garage. It was like a 6.5 to 7.5 quake hit the house, with all of the subsequent damage that goes with an event like that.
By the 2nd October, the house had been through over 300 aftershocks, many above a 3, which doesnt sound like much but if you are right on top of a three it feels like a 10. It creaked, plaster cracks, We had rebuilt the wall, and the pool was partially full to prevent someone from falling in and getting too hurt but also to limit more damage to the foundation, The sounds were frightening to someone that had never been alone overnight before and that had fears of people coming into the house that were not nice... The peace that came over me on that beach allowed me to sleep soundly for the first time in my adult life. I remember feeling that the earth could do its worse and it didnt matter anymore...
16 years later I see how we were running from God, We loved that house and perhaps that was where God needed to start to deal with us. I know that sometimes happens. I hope that I never hold a earthly thing so tight that God has to deal with me in that way again.
I have had some email on the previous posts... in answer to some of the more skeptical, I cant answer you why God chose to interact with me the way that He did. I do know that from the time that I was 8 years old I began to think that God was a distant being that had little concern for me other than to allow me to live on the earth, for what purpose I didnt know. It was easy to make the progression to the rejection of God that I made at 15 when I was raped twice in a 9 month period by two different men in two very different circumstances. I didnt feel that anyone would believe me so it went unreported. At this point I felt that God had abandoned me. It was to continue to sprial downward...
I think I needed to hear from God directly, and He came to me at a time when I was able to hear Him. I had been demonically oppressed for as long as I could remember, once the Holy Spirit interviened (because I asked for it) "the voices in my head" have not returned since. That in addition to other indicators that were documented by mental health professionals involved in my case, indicated a "event" that radically changed my mental health. I was heading for institutionalzation, the abrupt change was a watershed moment that radically altered my mental state. I was a different person and over the longterm the change has proven to be permanant.
My parents particularly my Mom, while they are willing to say that they made mistakes, are to this day (or were, my Dad's been dead for 12 years) unwilling to accept that they were responsible for our wholesale neglect. I cannot understand why my Mom would take two toddlers to the beach alone and why she didnt try to save me. We can all fill in the blanks. In writing these post I have had to deal with that. In trying to talk about it recently, she admitted to trying to get an abortion rather than marry my Dad. I can understand, but that understanding does little to help me, at 42, deal with the lonliness and the lack of acceptance that seems to be a life long condition. Knowing that God is with you goes a long way, but the very human ache is still there. The fact that you are unwanted by your parents and that was evident certainly contributed to my mental illness as a teen.
As to what God sounds like...God is Spirit, it says in His Word... the voice was the sound of music and water and rainfall all rolled into one. He spoke 7 times, the number of completness. There is no need for Him to speak to me again. It was enough.
He is enough. He is my hope and His path is brighter than the full day...