Today I thanked God for my toilet. For the pillows and blankets that were a mess on my couch. And for the fact that I had a couch left to straighten. Today I thanked God for a wrinkled Easter dress and that my daughter had multiple dresses from which to choose. Today I thanked God that I was able to take a shower in my own house. That my photos aren't destroyed. That we still have all of our windows. Today I thanked God that my children are alive and well. That my husband had not taken up jogging on the Greenway recently.
Friday while watching the news I felt a panic attack start in my chest that I'd not experienced since the morning of Christmas Eve, 2005 when my dad called to tell me that my mom's trip to the ER had proven that she did, in fact, have multiple brain tumors. The only other time I'd ever felt that way prior to that Christmas Eve was on September 11, 2001. We all know about that day.
My in-laws didn't answer their phone. They live in one of the neighborhoods for which the tornado was heading. They didn't answer their phone.
They did call back shortly after. They said they were fine... just a lot of debris. Little did I realize how serious the entire ordeal truly was. My husband loves storms and finds them fascinating. He insisted that we drive over to his parents' house "to help". I figured he just wanted to see what was going on out there. After all, we used to live in this neighborhood ourselves. And he grew up at his parents' house. This was his home that came so close to being destroyed.
As we neared the road where we used to live when we were first married, I began to realize the severity of the situation. We had to talk to someone just to get over to where my in-laws live. And then it took forever because of the many emergency workers on the road. We finally made it over there and we spent the rest of the day helping out with the clean up. Well, I held the baby but the Captain helped. My in-laws were very lucky. They didn't suffer much damage at all. Their yard was filled with glass and nails. My mother in law even found the remains of someone's high school year book from 1974. So bizarre and surreal. The emergency workers put a green square on their front door to indicate that everyone in the house was safe. My sister-in-law and my father-in-law gave their first hand account of what it felt like to sit in the closet/hallway and hear the storm pass over them. My sister-in-law and I laughed about how it was truly a passover at passover time. What a way to celebrate Good Friday.
While we had much to celebrate, I'm sad to say that so many of the people in our city lost so much. Some lost everything, including their lives. A young mother, Mrs. Kori Bryant who worked for Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation, and her 9 week old daughter perished in the storms, as did their entire home. Her husband is seriously injured. I read in the local paper that her marriage certificate was found unharmed in a Smurfs folder and that her Bible was found across the street. She was a friend of a friend. She sounds like someone I would have really liked to have know. She lived around the corner from my in-laws.
Last Tuesday night I started the Fireproof Bible study with a group of women who I didn't know. After the study, I had a conversation with a few of the ladies, one of whom told me that I'm a real woman because I gave birth at home with no drugs. She was super sweet. Who would have guessed that three days later she would lose her entire home.
One of the ministers from our church (really he's the main reason why we joined our church) had this experience with the storms. Amazing, right?
This disaster was so close. Our city is all over national news and that is so strange.
Everyone is affected.
My father-in-law mentioned the fact that there have been some looters walking around his neighborhood. But he agreed that for every looter there are fifteen volunteers out there helping get the work done. Further, there are people trying to help the helpers as well. He cited multiple examples of people aproaching him yesterday to see if he needed something to eat, to drink. He mentioned how delicious a defrosted bottled water was to him as he helped a neighbor clean up his yard. Our city has certainly come together to assist those in need.
My prayers are with those who lost everything and those who lost loved ones during this terrific disaster. I look forward to seeing how God is glorified through this madness and I am certain that souls will be saved and relationships repaired as a result of this craziness. I know that I, for one, was touched that my relatives called me to check on my family. It's nice to know that they care.