How do you react to situations? Do you get angry easily, overly dramatic, laid back, cautious? The way someone reacts to a circumstance can say a lot about who they are as a person. If I had to label myself, I would put me in the cautious category. I tend to be a few steps ahead of the game, peering over my shoulder here and there. I think experiences in life has formed me into the person I am. "Rather be too careful, then not ," I always say. Quickly emotions can go from cautious to fearful, depending on my ability to control the situation at hand. But, what if a situation is totally out of my control?
My husband and I entered the grand foyer of a Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Polished marble, elegant chandeliers and large displays of flowers made for a soothing atmosphere. The sound of chimes and bells echoed in the background, as we pulled our luggage across the shiny floor. "Sounds like someone just won something!" I said to my husband with a smile, as we passed by the main casino floor. We made our way up to the front desk to check in, and were promptly greeted by an overly cheerful receptionist. "Welcome to The Golden Nugget! Are you checking in with us today?" I don't think she ever blinked. I watched as she typed our information into the computer. "Here we are! I have you staying for two nights, is that correct?" My husband reached back for his credit card, "Yes, that is right." She continued to punch keys on the computer, all the while never breaking eye contact with us. Finally she stopped and swiped something through the machine. "Here is your room key, and a directory of the casino. We hope you enjoy your stay!" she concluded. We both walked away and headed toward the elevators. "Fourteenth floor?", I said, "I heard fire ladders can't reach you above the seventh floor." My husband turned to assure me, "Nothings going to happen, its fine." I sighed, as I glanced back down at the room key.
A full day of site seeing, eating, and losing money went by. It was two o'clock in the morning and we were both exhausted. As we made it back into our room, we prepared to go to bed. "Ugh, I smell like smoke!" I made a disgusted face, as I tossed my jacket over a chair. I made my way over to the bed and carefully got in, without touching the bedspread. (Be watching for a future story on my paranoia with hotel rooms!) We both laid there recapping the days events. I interrupted my husband with, "Are you doing that?" He replied, "Doing what?" I laid there for a few seconds trying to determine if the room was moving. "Are you moving the bed?" I questioned him again. "No. I'm just laying here," he said as he too took notice of the swaying bed. He put his hand up against the wall and sure enough the whole room was swaying! I jumped out of bed and flipped on the light switch. With wide eyes I yelled, "It's an earthquake!"
I quickly scrambled around the room trying to recall the procedure during such an event. I shouted to my husband, "Get in the bath tub!" Still in bed he answered, "That's for a tornado, Jenn." I searched the room for something to protect us, in case walls and ceilings began to crumple. Ah ha! The door frame. I remember seeing something about the strongest part of the structure being the door frame...or something along those lines. I made my way over and stood in the door way of the bathroom. "Would you get out of bed and get over here?" I said, annoyed that he was still in bed. "Honestly Jenn, we on the fourteenth floor, I don't think a door frame will save you," he replied. The room continued to sway for just a few seconds longer, then everything was still. I stood, in silence, waiting to hear something, anything. My husband finally managed to get up and made his way over to the window. "Don't get too close!" I yelled. "Everything looks normal," he said calmly while pulling the curtains back. I inched my way across the floor (eeww, gross!) and made my way to him. Hey, a girl can't be too careful! "What do we do now," I asked him. We both agreed, it would probably be a good idea to head downstairs for a bit. So, with my hair in a bun, Clearasil on my blemishes, and pajama bottoms on, I grabbed my purse and we headed toward the door.
As we opened the room door, we were hit with an awful odor. We watched as water poured from the hallway ceiling down to the floor. "Looks a sewer pipe broke," another guest pointed out to us. As we entered the stairwell, there was a line of people with the same idea as us. We all chatted about our "near death" experience. The range of emotion went from a woman crying, to a shirtless man happy to head back downstairs for more beer. I realized at this point that I probably had more time to change my clothes, before leaving the room. Oddly enough, the gift shop was still open, so I ducked inside to buy a "Golden Nugget" sweatshirt. As I made my purchase, sirens announced the arrival of a firetruck. "Is there a fire?" I quickly asked the cashier. "No, they have to clear the building and make sure no real damage was done," she said while chopping on her gum. We made our way outside to join the crowds of people, speculating to one another. You know how there is always that one stranger who knows everything going on? Well, I had the unfortunate event of having to stand next to him for two hours. Come to find out, we had only felt shock waves of an earthquake that had actually hit in California. By about four o'clock in the morning we were finally given the all clear, to head back to our rooms. I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, wondering if the ceiling was finally going to give way.
Looking back now, several years later, I laugh about it. I looked completely ridiculous that night. As my husband laid calm, I ran around yelling, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Just knowing there was a possibility of death that night, I over reacted out of fear. Why did I over react? I wasn't ready to die. I knew in my heart that had that been my time to go, I was not spiritually where I needed to be. I had placed God on the back burner and I tried to be in control of the things in my life. Again, I was reminded how fragile life can be. Again, I had been put into a situation that made me open my eyes to the seriousness of life. You've heard the saying, "We live, then we die. It's what you did in between that counts." So true. How do you react to situations in your life? Oddly enough, it is an accurate way to determine where you are spiritually. What does your behavior say about you?
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)