Monday, February 15, 2010


The following resonated with me:

“Last night, before my arraignment, I started shaking. Not shivering, but the palsied kind of seizure that even made the guards bring me to the infirmary for a free nurse’s check, not that she could find anything wrong. It was the sort of tremor that astronauts get when they come back to earth, that a hiker suffers after coming back down from Kilimanjaro—a bone-deep chill that has nothing to do with cold and everything with being moved from one world to another.”
from Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
I can’t say I’ve encountered a “palsied kind of seizure” but my kneecaps have trembled to the point they’ve threatened to pop off. I’ve shuttered with utter joy, overwhelming confusion, deep pain and indescribable elation. And I believe during each of these life defining moments I did move from one understood world to another.
Here is an abbreviated list of times I shook—
13 Parents sit me down in the living room (we hardly ever go in there) to tell me my older sister has a cancerous brain tumor.
15 My first kiss. I was a loony mess.
15 (weeks later) I find a newfound freedom in a relationship with Christ.
22 I survive a terrifying car accident. Picture…blindsided, hit gravel, jump gulley, airbag smacks me back, play blind Frogger with three lanes of oncoming traffic, wind up perfectly parallel facing oncoming traffic in their shoulder lane. Unharmed.
22 Fiancé informs me his territory will be in Seattle. My parents are in Florida. Can you say leave and cleave?
23 Undergo major surgery one month prior to wedding.
26 Baby born
28 Baby born
31 Baby born

*I’ve experienced other intimate and/or life defining times, but I’ve opted not to disclose them for various reasons.

Congratulations to Sarah who wrote In the Eye of Deception! You win Thin Places. Your memoir sounds fascinating. Thanks to all those who participated! I was informed making the decision was grueling. Sarah, please send me your address (email found on Facebook badge down to the right).

Do you remember a moment when you shook?
*photos by flickr


  1. I love that sign, it's pretty much to the point. I hope your sister is OK. Thank you for sharing those knee shaking moments with us. It's a nice window into who you are.

  2. After each of my baby's births, and while sobbing over my dear dogs death. Praise God, Kelsha (our first dog) was the closest creature to be taken from me so far. I've been truly blessed which is scary because I have no idea how I'm going to handle it when a human I'm close to leaves this earth.

  3. Oh, wow. I didn't know you'd dealt with a sister with cancer. I've been wondering how your dad is doing. I've had a lot of shaking in my life too--both good and bad!

  4. I've shook with joy, fear and grief. The stories are too many and some too personal to post.

    My heart aches for your tragedies and it rejoices for your celebrations.

  5. When my tires skidded out and I did a 180 turn in my car. I was fine and didn't hit anything, but I shook.
    Also, when I thought I lost my daughter at a playground.

  6. When I got the call from my agent. I was definitely shaking.

  7. I was shaking when I dislocated my elbow. That was more from shock, though than nerves! :) Stupid rock climbing. :)

    I definitely shook when my DH popped the will you marry me question. My knees even buckled. It was also caught on video camera. Joy. :)

  8. I shook during my first earthquake. I was in a dead sleep and the quake was a real rocker and roller. Water was splashing out of the pool. Lasted like 30-40 seconds.

    Stephen Tremp

  9. When I was a teenager, my brother fell through the steel box that housed our air conditioner unit and fan. I screamed at him to not MOVE, tore into the house, and turned off the unit. A neighbor answered my screams and helped pry him out of the unit. Only when he was determined okay did I shake like an aspen.

    As usual, great post!!

  10. More times than I would like to remember, I have found myself shaking. "It's just adrenaline." I borrowed that line from a movie (The Bodyguard) several years ago. Silly of me, I suppose --
    but it's true, it IS the effects of adrenaline. And it will wear off after a bit.

    Since then, whenever it happens, that's what I say to myself and it helps me.

  11. Wow, Wendy. I think you have a great start on your own "Thin Places." Only you might call it "Shaky Places."

    Is your sis okay?

    I shoook with joy when I was born again, and when our babies were born the first time. More than I care to admit I've shaken from anger. I'm not comfortable with that emotion.

    Thanks for your candor.

    Audience of ONE

  12. I echo Jeanette, about your sister. And wow, that car episode...I was in one where the car flipped 3 times and we were in Mexico. And birthing children, son went to war....God was good in them all.

  13. I am so sorry to hear about your sisters' cancer. That is one of my moments as well... but being sat down by my mother and being told she had cancer. At age 10 and again at age 22.

    The absolute worst bout of shaking came in April of last year. My 13 year old cousin died suddenly after being diagnosed with leukemia only 3 weeks prior. Between huddling on the floor with my aunt, sitting at the viewing and holding my cousin's hand (her older brother) and watching the entire family fall apart at her funeral... I didn't realize my body could contain the sadness. I remember just laying down in the pew and resting my head in my mom's lap, sobbing. Listening to the wails of my aunt and uncle. I can still feel that shaking.

  14. T.Anne, I hope to be transparent. Window is a good picture of that. Depends on how you define okay. A long story with her.

    Eileen, I so get it with the dog. I adored my dogs growing up (Norweigen Elkhounds) and when the mom died I sobbed at college when my mom told me.

    Jody, It made me laugh to see your post today b/c I risked putting some more of my life out there. My dad is hanging in there. I'll have to fill you in more some other time.

    Thanks, Donna for the aching and rejoicing. I understand with some things being too personal (that was my reasoning behind not listing some of mine).

    Jennifer, Car accident send you into that fight or flight mode. And the scare with your daughter--that would terrify me.

    Katie, Oh I can so see that and it makes me smile! :D

    Jaime, You bring up such a valid point. I think a number of the times I mentioned I was partly in shock...certainly my body was after giving birth. Getting engaged was one of mine too.

    Stephen, That would make complete and utter sense. Welcome. I'll be checking your blog soon.

    Patti, Something about your story reminded me of the opening scene of Walk the Line. Witnessing a scary event like that had to be jarring.

    Cassandra, Adrenaline has a way of doing that. I have an unusual amount of energy so I'm convinced I have a double dosage of adrenaline.

    Jeanette, Shaky Places made me laugh! You have that way about you and I love you for it. Honest about the anger comment and something I identify with. I feel all things deeply so I have to watch my feelings carefully.

    My sister has walked a rough road. At some point I may share more about her story.

    Karen, Three times!!! Three times!!! What, were you in a high speed chase? In Mexico...of course you were...completely havin' fun with you now. You've endured your own share of shaking times.

    So glad God triumphs through everything!

    Thanks everyone for allowing me to open up a little more today. It's a risky business--this writing (Heather Sunseri wrote a great post on this not long ago). Worth the risk.

    I hope you sleep knowing our rescue is coming soon (listen to first Coldplay song on my playlist).

    Fall asleep to music.
    ~ Wendy

  15. Lily, I'm still on here so I wanted to comment. First--welcome! I noticed something about my list. Many of my moments had to do with life (the birth of my babies) and death (accident, surgery having the potential of, learning about cancer...).

    We are only here for a breath of time.
    I love knowing there is a God who wants every single one of us to spend eternity with Him.

    Hope you'll visit again!

  16. Oh yes, I've definitely had some shaking. My son had a seizure when he was a toddler. I think that's probably the scariest moment of my life so far because I thought he was going to die (not because of the seizure, but because he was choking on food too).
    I'm sorry about your sister. :-(
    On the other hand, your car accident sounds miraculous! Wow.
    Thanks for sharing all that and congrats to Sarah.

  17. Oh yes. Oh yes. So many of those times. The memory I shared on my blog last week (the moment by the river in the Amazon) is one. Thank you for this post!

  18. I shake before I speak in public, which is funny because I'm not a bad speaker...just very nervous if I'm speaking on spiritual topics. Nothing exposes you like getting up in front of a bunch of women and talking about some of the most significant moments in your life!

    The funny thing is, I don't remember shaking when I received the news that my grandfather had been killed in a car accident (one of the hardest days of my of the hardest years, in fact). That news went so deep it was more paralyzing. Give me shaking any day instead of that feeling.

  19. Oh wow, Wendy, what a great post! What stories you have to tell!

    I remember shaking violently during labor. I think it was physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I shook when my eldest was born, and I remember thinking, "This is why God made me a woman. Just for this." :-)

    I'm so, SO glad you survived that harrowing car accident--may God be praised!

  20. That was a great description by Jodi Picoult. I've definitely experienced some shaking. Thankfully, only the happy times are coming to mind right now.

  21. When someone came up to me and said, "Your brother has died..."

    My knees buckled, my body shook, something kicked me in the gut, my heart broke...

    (I hope your sister is okay?...)

  22. Wow! You are a remarkably strong and beautiful person, you know that? I love that sign about kneeling. I have a tendency to forget that I can get help, and that I need it. Thank you for the reminder. :)

  23. Wow, you've had to deal with a lot. I wish you and your family the very best.

    My first kiss made me shake, too. ;)

  24. My usual release for intense emotion is tears, but I can remember two times they were accompanied by trembling. The recent experience was when I opened the email from my agent saying she wanted to discuss the possibility of representation. There was some serious shouting that evening, too, let me tell you.

    The second time I recall shaking dates back thirteen years this month. My beloved mother-in-law lay in a hospital bed in her living room, and I knew that after a valiant fifteen-year battle with breast cancer she had a matter of days left. Desperate to do something for her, I pulled out my Bible, read the verses about the Proverbs 31 woman, and told her how I saw those very attributes in her.

    Nearing the comatose stage that comes at the end, Mother began to speak, something she'd not done for days. I leaned close, straining to hear her ragged, faint speech. Her final words on earth were a prayer thanking God for me, the daughter she'd always wanted.

    My husband found me a few minutes later sobbing and shaking in a quiet corner of the house and feared the worst. Those tears, though, weren't shed because of sadness. They were the outpouring of joy unlike anything I'd ever experienced.

  25. You're safety through the car accident sounds like a real miracle.

    I had major surgery just before I went to my first year of college. The recovery took months and I think I shook the whole time.

    And having my babies, those were definitely shaking times too.


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