It’s been a couple of days. I’ve been processing. I’ve been living. I’ve been grateful to be doing both.
We moved to Hawaii at what feels like the height of “unrest”. When we first came here, I remember telling Clint I didn’t really feel safe here. But days turn to weeks and the always -summer sun will bliss you out and help you to forget the threat of nuclear attack.
Most of the people I know strongly believe that an actual threat is ridiculous. They’ve told me this so often, it started to feel true. My mind let go of the fear.
Until Saturday morning.
My friend Sarah and I had gone to the beach for our regularly scheduled early morning walk. We were chatting and the world was beautiful. The soft sand was cool and the ocean teased at our feet.
We decided to make a quick stop at the bathroom. Just as I was exiting my stall, her phone screamed to life. “What in the world is that?” I asked her. My mind instantly went to an Amber alert, which isn’t uncommon in my original state of Texas. When she read that a missile was headed towards us, I immediately felt nauseous. No! No, no, no… I’d moved my children into the middle of the ocean to lose their lives.
We ran out of the bathroom and saw the lifeguards standing on the deck of their tower, quizzically looking at their phones, shaking their heads and shrugging their shoulders. A woman ran from the parking lot, phone held high, asking them ” Have you seen this???”
We didn’t wait to see what happened. We jumped in my car and took off towards her house, which isn’t far from the beach. I hurriedly called my husband, told him the news and asked him to turn on the television.
At Sarah’s, I didn’t know what to do… My house is about 10 minutes from there, I wanted to be with my family but was scared to be on the roads. I gave them both a hug and headed home.
The entire drive I tried to call anyone I could, my mom in Texas, my uncle in Kauai, Clint to hear the latest news… but the lines were jammed and no calls would go through.
I was almost home when the unofficial all clear came. As I walked in, the kids told me Dad had made them sit in the bathtub!! And they laughed, little innocent minds, having no idea why or the potential of the why.
We all went to the beach later to appreciate that we still could. It was pretty secluded for a Saturday, as were the stores. People stayed home. I felt that…
Yesterday when I woke up for my walking time, I didn’t want to leave at first. What if it’s real today? I need to be home.
False alarm or not, I refuse to give them that power over me. The fear of what if and when will not keep me from living my life. The last few years, I’ve felt that fear at movie theaters and concerts and just about anywhere else because the world is deluded and people are crazy and some people have a deep desire to hurt others.
But I’m taking a stand, I’m pushing that fear back into the tiny little hole it belongs in. I won’t hide in my house. You don’t get that power over me. I will walk on the beach, play in the ocean, rock a concert… I will live my life even though it seems that some people don’t value it… some people would try to take it… but you can’t have it.
Those 38 minutes of checking the sky and frantic phone calls and aching to hold my babies are going to be a daily reminder to me TO LIVE. Not a life of fear but a FULL life, because you only get one and it can be over in a flash.