Writer’s Note: On this one-year anniversary of the killer Alabama tornadoes, I am reposting my blog post from May 7, 2011. Ten days into the devastation at that point, the magnitude of what we were experiencing is evident.
In the “Documents” library of my mind, I created a “New Folder” last week called “Twisters.” A peek inside the folder reveals strange words, disturbing images, confused emotions, overwhelming thoughts, and life changing experiences. I invite you to browse the crowded and jumbled files with me.
FILE NAME- STRANGE WORDS: Curfew is a strange word. I haven’t said it or thought about it since I was a teenager. This past week, however, it was the Word of the Week. North Alabama was under a dusk-to-dawn curfew due to widespread tornado damage, power outages, and looters. It was serious, too. If you were caught on the roads after curfew, you got arrested.
FILE NAME- DISTURBING IMAGES: Porch steps are a disturbing image. I saw porch steps with no house. I saw the dirt square where the house had been and the cement square where the back patio had been. The 80-year-old grandma who owned the porch steps was buried this week.
FILE NAME- CONFUSED EMOTIONS: I cried when I saw a hand-painted sign in front of Sparkman High School. It said: “Prom dresses for tornado victims! FREE.” Did the sign make me happy or did the sign make me sad? I’m not really sure. I only know it made me cry.
FILE NAME- OVERWHELMING THOUGHTS: With death and destruction all around us in every direction, how do we help? Who do we help first? Chalybeate? Mt. Hope? Tanner? Cullman? Harvest? Hillsboro? East Limestone? Hackleburg? Huntsville?
FILE NAME- LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCES: This week I wore work gloves, got a bright red sunburn, walked through mountains of rubble, talked with people who narrowly escaped death, met sacrificial volunteers from all over the U.S., and watched my friends transform into a Tornado Relief Team. My life is changed forever.
Be ready. When disaster strikes, act quickly to help those who are suffering.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 NIV).