Tag Archives: tornado

Friday’s Tornadoes Shift Priorities A Bit

When bad weather hits, I’m cautious but not an alarmist. My husband tends to get caught up in all the weather channel hype. You know, the storm-of-the-century-of-the-week. He borders on playing the alarmist. When bad weather is predicted, he turns up his weather radio and watches the radar on TV. Since he’s so tuned in, I tend to tune out.

Not last Friday.

Weather technology has become more and more amazing. A tornado, caught on the radar at the Alabama border, was headed our way. Gathering strength. Well formed. Highly damaging. I repeat, headed our way. It started almost 150 miles away and it was coming. And the weather man was able to tell us what street it was on and which street it was headed for next.

My husband was watching the news intently all evening. I got interested when the tornado was a couple towns away.

The logical side of my brain realizes that tornadoes can affect me. Our home. My family. The emotional, stunted part of my brain doesn’t really think it will. Until a few nights ago.

We woke the boys up out of sound slumber and brought them downstairs to our basement. As I was gently nudging #2son awake my husband got irritated, “This isn’t the time to be gentle! Get them up NOW and go downstairs!” (Remember? He’s the alarmist.)

Half asleep, but enjoying the adventure, my boys weren’t afraid. Probably because I had created a little sleeping bag nest for us, complete with books and ipods and nintendo games. My husband paced while the boys and I cuddled and giggled.

After the tornado had skipped south of us, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief. Sure. I was scared. But I couldn’t stop the tornado from coming. And having it come so close to us, hearing the weather man announce which street it was on and which street it was headed for next? Made it a little more real for me than I was comfortable with.

The internet was loaded with pictures the next day of all the devastation Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, and yes, Georgia had experienced. Our neighborhood message board lit up with requests for people in need. I tore through our home and put together clothes, toiletries from my extreme couponer-wannabe stockpile. It felt good to do something. Anything. Some neighbors, that I had never met before, have friends in Chattanooga who lost everything. Their home was flattened. They all survived, thank goodness, but now have to start over. I brought them the things that I could put together and told them to let me know if they need more for their next trip up there to help.

So many people lost their lives, their homes. Pictures, beloved books or toys, favorite curtains or cups. Sure, all of these things can be replaced. But the loss they must be feeling right now is unimaginable to me. It made my silly request of you all on Friday afternoon seem……silly. Share some love, indeed.

If you can’t help a family directly, please consider donating to the American Red Cross. Rebuilding is going to take time, money, and so much hard work. If we all share a little of what we have, together we can make a world of difference.

(My Friday post also included a bloggy friend who could use your help. If you can help her in her financial struggle as she tries to make things right, thank you. And if you still want to vote for the picture of my kids for the contest, that’s great, too. Just wanted to let you know, my own priorities have shifted a bit.)

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Filed under Be-Causes

Blessed. What Does That Mean, Exactly?

I was walking out of a local department store that had a double set of doors. An older woman, who been behind me in the checkout line, was following me out. We had exchanged pleasantries while in line – just things about the weather – light, typical stranger conversation. Just as I was opening the first set of doors I noticed her behind me. Of course, I held the door for her. And because they were a bit heavy, I jumped ahead of her to open the second set.

She said, “May you be very blessed, love.”

I smiled. I thanked her. And I noticed I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

Repeating that line in my head as I walked to the car, I remembered another time someone had used the term blessed. A time that didn’t feel so very warm and fuzzy.

We were at my son’s classroom having a potluck holiday lunch. Parents and children sat around makeshift dining tables eating macaroni and cheese, broccoli salad and nibbling on cookies with sprinkles. Conversation was light and happy.

Until one parent turned to another parent and said, “We drove by your subdivision the other day. The damage is just shocking! Was your house spared? We were so worried about you!”

Weeks before, tornadoes ripped through our county. No deaths were reported but there was massive property damage.

The other parent began to relay her story. About homes torn down to the foundation. Cars lifted. Trees overturned. But her house? Not a scratch. In fact, the toys her children had left in the yard were in exactly the same place they had left them. As if the storm hadn’t even come so close to their home.

“We were very blessed,” she said with a satisfied smile. And the look on her face seemed to me of smug satisfaction.

My jaw dropped. My eyes widened. And then, I know, my expression revealed cynicism and a critical glare. (I have no poker face. A fatal character flaw.)

Quickly, I tried to recover. I didn’t say a word and then quietly excused myself to search for another cookie, another cup of tea, another conversation.

We were very blessed?

And what? The other families were cursed? What did they do to deserve such punishment? Why are you so special to remain unscathed?

Blessed.

How can one word fill me with the warm fuzzies one minute and disgust the next?

I suppose I’m more of a The-Lord-Works-In-Mysterious Ways kind of girl. I prefer to focus on the lessons learned and the kindness received in any tragic event. But to explain away why some are spared and some are not? Not in my job description. I’ll leave that to the big guy upstairs.

Or, to the smug and self-satisfied.

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Filed under Lessons Learned, Soapbox