How can one NOT know what has happened this last week in South America?
An 8.8 magnitute earthquake rocked the country of Chile and with it, rocked M-Cat's world for a little bit.
I've debated on whether or not to post anything, but decided that because this IS my journal, and a place to capture my feelings, I'm going for it. However, I hope that any poor sucker who stumbles on this and reads it will understand my intent.
I have never been to Chile. I hope to one day, but for now, I have lived the last 2 years vicariously through my middle son Luka. He served his LDS mission in the Chile, Osorno mission. It is about 300 miles south of the city of Concepcion which is where the epicenter of the quake was.
If you have ever had a son or daughter serve a mission, you quickly fall in love with their assigned area. Be it foreign or a neighboring state in the US. You love the country, you love the people, you love the culture. Every letter or email home, all you do is picture your child there. Imagining the sights, the smells, the FEEL of their surroundings. They become "your people". The place itself becomes "yours".
The past two years have been that for me. Every picture Luka sent home endeared the country to my heart that much more. As he wrote of people he met, church members he taught, even strangers that he encountered on the street, I fell in love that much more. Even the drunk who tried to kill him, has a place in my heart if you can imagine.
His mamita's that took such good care of him, are especially dear to my soul. They fed him, washed his clothes, and loved him. One of the dear sister members even friended me on FB and in Spanish told me how much she loved my son. She had adopted him as her own. These wonderful people of Chile looked after my son when I wasn't there to. They made his birthday's special, welcomed him for Christmas, and served as his "family" while he was away from us. There will never be words for me to express how much I love the Chileans who filled an important place in my son's life for 2 years.
So when I came home from the gym Saturday to Splenda's distressed face with the news. I immediately thought of all the beautiful brown eyes I had seen in pictures and video, the names I learned, the voices I heard on tape. Were they safe? How far away was the quake? Is there massive death? WHERE THE HELL IS LUKA RIGHT NOW??
He had spent the night with a BFF and hadn't gotten word. Once I had processed the reality that Luka was indeed stateside, safe and only a few miles away, my thoughts went to his companions still remaining in Chile. Were all the other missionaries safe?
My worries were interrupted by Splenda reminding me that our good friends, the L's son was currently serving in Concepcion. CRAP!!!!
I quickly texted, called her and got the news that they were still awaiting news. They knew their son was alive, but beyond that, nothing. My heart was h.e.a.v.y. I placed myself in her shoes. Early in Luka's mission there was a volcano eruption a hundred miles or so from his area. And while logically, you run through the odds of something actually being wrong, the mother side of you has them in dire peril crying for you. Was he really okay? Was he scared? Did he want to call home? I know, those are terrible thoughts, but I have to think I am not the only Mom who does this.
I promised to pray and stay in contact with LL and continued to watch the news. I could not tear myself away for very long. And when I did go about my Saturday business and activities, Chile and "our people" were still on my mind.
We finally got a hold of Luka and shared the news. I think he was in shock. He hasn't spent a great deal of time talking about it, but then again, he's not that type. He has finally gotten word on several people he was concerned with in Osorno, and the surrounding area, and word is everyone is okay. He has watched the videos of the quake and it's resulting damage on the internet, and beyond expressing some disbelief, he has left it at that. Again, not much of the "let's talk it through" kid, but more of the "leave me be, I'll process this just fine" kid. I love his cool head and rock solid temperment.
I watched this slide show today. Again, my heart hurts for my Chilean friends. It's starting into fall and their winter season. It will soon get cold, and many of the people are without shelter. As of today, supplies are scarce and there is civil unrest. Looting is rampant in Concepcion. People are in danger now because of violence erupting. I fear that the frustration and desperation that most certainly is being felt will overwhlem them.
While the epicenter was not directly in Luka's area, all of Chile is dear to me. I worry about his friends, the other missionaries serving, especially the L's son. I worry about Luka's friends. I worry about perfect strangers who happen to be Chilean. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. I hope that their suffering is alleviated soon. I hope that they can begin the process of rebuilding. I hope that those who are far from home there will return safely. I hope that somehow in their time of distress, they can know that some lady from UT loves them and is praying for them.
Viva La Chile!