We are finally beginning to slowly rejoin the rest of the world here in North Alabama, at least in my town. Our power was restored in the early hours of Sunday morning, and though I will never take a hot meal or warm shower (with overhead lighting) for granted again, I feel as if we all learned a few things from the days we were forced to slow down and take a retreat from our technology-dominated lives.
First and foremost, those of us who were only without power know how extremely lucky we were to simply be forced to spend a bit more time in the dark. Within a few miles of my house, there are people who literally have nothing left. They don't need to worry about burning candles after dark, because there is no table left to hold the candles. They aren't phased by the long lines at the gas pumps, because their vehicles are in a tangled, twisted lump thirty feet from where they were parked in the driveway. Families are without food, shelter, clothing, or the basic supplies of daily life. And some three hundred families in our state are dealing with the loss of loved ones. While those of us who were out of the path of destruction thank God for keeping us safe, we also cry out in sympathy for those who have lost so much.
I used to love the movie Twister. It came out when I was in high school, and I remember watching it several times with different friends over the years. After living through a day that quite literally felt like a scene from that movie, I don't think I will ever find it entertaining again. My town has been so lucky in that the mountains that surround us generally cause the storms to skip over us and out to the more sparsely populated areas in our county. The thing about a tornado, though, is that it is so utterly unpredictable. There is no "safe" spot when one is in the vicinity, because there is no rhyme or reason to the path of destruction storms like these leave behind. I just can't describe the feeling of seeing homes twisted on their foundations, or worse, seeing an empty concrete slab that represents the foundation of a home that should be standing there.
I admit, I am struggling with the attempt to return to somewhat "normal" life knowing that so many around here have no "normal" to return to. It has been a huge blessing to see so many people stepping up to help those in need, though it is disheartening to realize that the needs will continue for a long, long time. I pray that our communities can stay strong and continue to support those who need us.
I have to take a moment to say how proud I am of my husband. He and his coworkers are working around the clock to keep neighborhoods safe and provide help to anyone who needs it. He sent me a few pictures of storm damage yesterday, and this one made me catch my breath a little:
That is the house where Jeremy took cover during one of the tornadoes. Again I say, we have so much to be thankful for.