Build Your House on the Slope of Mount Vesuvius
Build Your House on the Slope of Mount Vesuvius

Build Your House on the Slope of Mount Vesuvius

I am somewhat sensitive to sounds. If I hear something out of place — an errant squeak, a slightly off-balance picture on a shelf that knocks as it wobbles when a person walks by it — I have to investigate the source of the sound and fix it so as to make it stop.

When I heard a small, barely audible knocking in my office a couple of weeks ago, I just thought it was the wind.

Then I felt everything swaying ever so slightly. I still thought it was the wind.

It lasted longer than a burst of wind usually lasts, though.

That’s when I received an email that stated that my area was struck by a small earthquake.

Holy cow! What the heck is going one here?

I know that some of you in places like California are laughing at me. I’ve seen the web sites showing the “damage” from the earthquake that originated in Virginia: the toppled lawn chairs and shaken knick-knacks.

You must understand that this was my very first one! Ever. It was the first for probably everyone in my area. It was … Weird.

Moving forward a couple weeks later to this past weekend, my area found itself once again being toyed with by Mother Nature.

This time it was flooding.

A couple places in my area were decimated. Our downtown was evacuated and people expected the worst. The levees that were built to withstand waters of up to 41 feet held strong even though the river crested at over 42 feet.

It’s been somewhat crazy. I even quipped that if hordes of locusts appear, I’m calling game over!

My area isn’t the only place. There are fires in Texas. Flooding in other places. Hurricanes.

What’s the point of all this?

Already in my area, clean up has begun in earnest. People who have lost everything are assessing things and planning their next move. Businesses are moving as quickly as possible to get things up and running.

Human nature, even when forced to the brink by Mother Nature, perseveres and prevails.

You cannot control everything that happens in your life. As Forrest Gump said in the movie, sometimes “crap happens.” (I sanitized that for our all-ages audience.)

What counts is how you react to the crap.

What counts is what you do after the crap has passed.

What counts is that we keep on keeping on after all the crap is thrown at us.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Friedrich Nietzsche who exhorted “Build your houses on Vesuvius.”

Life, no matter how safe you try to play it, will always toss something at you. It will do its best to knock you down a notch. It will take its best shot time and again.

You’re better than that, though.

You’re stronger. You’re smarter.

So dream big and plan bigger.

Talk loudly and act boldly.

You might fall and fail. You might lose and be defeated. You might end up battered and broken.

But you’ll overcome it.

You will prevail.

You will stand tall.

That’s just what tough people like you tend to do.

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