Upside Down and Backwards

Ok, so it happened again.  Monday morning I went into protection mode.  As mommy or grandma being protective feels normal.  As a wife, not so much.  Here’s what happened.  I was sitting in the sunroom at 6:30 am, when the earthquake began, I got up and immediately went back into the bedroom to be with Gary.  In years past, I’d go to him so I’d feel safe by his side, but not today.  This time was different. 

 5 Freeway at Newhall Pass - Northridge Earthquake 1994 (Photo by Gary)

5 Freeway at Newhall Pass - Northridge Earthquake 1994 (Photo by Gary)

Growing up in earthquake country, I am not shocked or panicked when one hits, but they still give me an adrenalin rush and spur me to action.  It’s amazing what you can process in just a few seconds.  “Is it stopping?  Is it strong?  Should I move to a doorway?  Where’s the safest spot if it gets worse?  Most of the time I end up feeling rather silly, because even though we do get occasional earthquakes here, they are not typically bad enough to cause any damage.  I did, after all, survive the 6.6 1971 Sylmar Quake (65 dead, 2000 injured), and the 6.7 1994 Northridge Quake (57 dead, 5000 injured).  I was 16 and 15 miles away, respectively.  For those, I felt justified in going to a doorway but our damage was limited to some dishes and pictures falling.  So on Monday morning, being 27 miles away from Westwood’s 4.4 earthquake, there really wasn’t much to write home about, but there’s always the adrenalin, and the not knowing how long, or how strong. 

 Random Building, San Fernando Valley - Northridge Earthquake (photo by Gary)

Random Building, San Fernando Valley - Northridge Earthquake (photo by Gary)

In the middle of the Northridge Earthquake, I remember Gary taking charge, calling across the house to our daughters in the dark, telling them to stay in their doorway, (where they were hugging each other) and then stay in their rooms till they had shoes on because there was broken glass throughout the house.  Then he went out and checked the gas line, and gave us the all clear.  We all felt so safe with him watching over us.  But, this time, for the first time, I went into “protection mode.”  If it got worse I wouldn’t be able to move Gary anywhere quickly.  If the walls came crumbling down, we’d have to ride it out together, covered up with pillows and blankets.  I just knew I needed to be with him.  Not for my safety this time, but for his.  Now I’m protecting my husband because he’s defenseless. 

Gary and I experience many apparent “role-reversals” on a day-to-day basis.  It can be unsettling.  My world and how I function in it, has me feeling upside down and backwards.  Here’s how I’ve been working through the quakes of change again..

Gary has always been my protector.  No matter how we rearranged our bedroom furniture, where the sleeping bags were in the tent, or how hotel rooms were laid out, he always wanted to sleep on the side closest to the door.  When walking down a sidewalk, he’d move to the side nearest the street.  "The side of greater danger,” as he put it. 

 2000 - Photo by April

2000 - Photo by April

One of Gary’s roles was to protect me.  God ordained that husbands “love their wives as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for her (the church).”  (Eph.5:25) What does it mean to “love a wife as Christ loved the church?”  Lots of things, but the main point, is to love sacrificially.  Jesus laid down His life for all who would believe and become His Church.  He died to protect them from eternal death.  For a husband to love that way, means he’ll protect her, get between his wife and harm, “take the bullet” for her, if necessary. 

 My hero - 1976

My hero - 1976

So, I struggle with having to take on so many of Gary’s roles.  BUT, here’s the really great thing.  My primary role as wife is to be Gary’s HELPER.  When God made Adam, he decided that Adam wasn’t complete without a helper.  He made a suitable helper for man.  Woman.  (Genesis 2:18) Then he made them One, husband and wife.  What could be more HELPFUL than protecting a helpless husband during an earthquake? 

God never leaves me in a quandary.  His Word is all I need for navigation through this life and it does not contradict itself.


Just a note to parents…I can’t resist saying that our culture is frequently promoting ideals that are opposite from Biblical roles.  Women are doing the rescuing of the men in many movies and tv, and though I have nothing wrong with a woman learning how to defend herself, and doing so, beware the constant message we may be giving to our young ladies through the media.  Ever After is a movie that comes to mind.  Cinderella rescues Prince Charming from the thieves, and then rescues herself from the bad guy. Prince Charming shows up to say “I love you” but that’s about it.  There are media examples on both sides, but just be aware of it.  More and more, the roles are disappearing all around us, regardless of the standard set forth in God’s word which has not changed.