By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
We think we have all the answers.
We take each day in our stride, marching purposefully onward, dealing with work, school, our kids, our spouse, going in as many directions as we can manage, sometimes all at once.
We have plans, we have goals, we have dreams. We text, we tweet, we organize our lives through the help of the high-powered, hand-held computing device we call our cellphones.
We think we are somehow in control, that our lives are well-ordered and structured, thanks to our own initiative, our own hard work and determination.
Nothing bad will happen, nothing bad could possibly happen.
Tomorrow will be much like today, and so will the day after that, and the day after that.
After all, we think we have all the answers.
And then the sky falls in, reality bites us on the backside and we realize we not only don’t have all the answers, we don’t even know what questions to ask.
Parts of the Philippines have been rendered virtually uninhabitable by Typhoon Haiyan.
Basic services are unavailable, food and water are in short supply, entire buildings are leveled, their remains strewn around like so much trash and thousands upon thousands of people are dead. Those that survived are hungry, thirsty and in need of shelter and medical care.
They find themselves resorting to looting shops to feed their families.
Those of us in Oklahoma know how capricious life can be, how quickly the tide can turn. Many of our brothers and sisters continue to rebuild their lives shattered by last spring’s rash of deadly tornadoes.
Now we face another, albeit less serious, threat. Our state has been subjected to a rash of earthquakes of late, a malady we formerly associated only with those on the West Coast.
But the soil under our feet has become increasingly shaky.
Those of us in the Enid area had our own little quake just after 10 p.m. Monday, a jolt that measured 3.4 on the Richter Scale.
Those commenting online described it as a loud boom, accompanied by rocking and shaking. One said it felt like something had rammed into her house. I felt it. I thought one of the cats had gas.
Experts don’t quite know why our ground is quivering. They think the quakes may be caused by human activity.
Does that mean fracking or twerking? They didn’t specify.
Often our lives are rocked by more painful, more personal tragedies.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe has lost one of his children, his son, Perry, who was killed in a weekend plane crash near Owasso.
The loss of a child is an unspeakable tragedy. It is not in the natural order of things. Children are supposed to bury their parents, not the other way around.
This is a matter of one life, as opposed to the thousands affected by a typhoon or a tornado, but the impact is no less profound — nothing will ever be the same for that family.
Nor will it be the same for the family of a friend. Her daughter was pregnant with her second child when she went to the doctor recently for a routine prenatal checkup.
During the visit, they found a problem. There was no fetal heartbeat. The baby was lost.
More lives were thus inexorably and tragically altered.
Where do we turn in such instances? We turn to family, to friends and the faithful turn to God. Increasingly even non-believers have begun gathering in what they are calling atheist “mega-churches.”
They gather to sing, to spend time in quiet reflection, to listen to an inspirational message, to share pot luck and fellowship. It’s all well and good, but without God, it’s not church.
We do not have all the answers, we are not in control, we aren’t steering, just hanging on and hoping not to get bucked off.
Never take a good day for granted, don’t screw it up by being in a bad mood.
Hope and plan for better days to come, but never forget it could all go wrong in an instant, that the world that keeps on turning could suddenly turn on you and yours.
We do not have all the answers. But if we use our Bible for something other than a dust-catcher, we will find we have as many as we need.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.