On Sunday I updated my status saying I was thinking and praying for my friends and family in the Midwest. I grew up in tornado country.
In 1990, when I was in 4th grade, an F-5 tornado ripped apart my home town a day before school was to begin. I was at a friend's house across the street, enjoying our last day of summer by swimming in her pool. The sky soon became very dark and we hurried to cover the pool and head inside. The sky continued to darken, turning almost an eerie green color. Soon it sounded like the roof was being pelted with rocks. The power flickered then went out.
We sat in the dark on the couch scared, I wished I was across the street home with my own family. My friends' older sister ran downstairs telling us it hailing golf balls. We giggled at her slip as she meant to say hail the size of golf balls. We sat on the couch scared unsure what to do, we were fairly used to big thunderstorms but this seemed different. Before we knew it the wind seemed to calm down and the sky began to clear.
We went outside to see if there was any damage from the hail when our neighbor arrived home. He told us there had been a tornado and it had destroyed our grade school.
My almost 10-year old mind wasn't quite sure what to think of this, I don't think I understood the reality of it. I ran home, bursting in saying "I am not going to school tomorrow." "Why?" my brothers questioned. "A tornado destroyed the school!" "No, it didn't" they accused. "No, really it did."
The power was out so we couldn't turn on the TV to watch the news. This was before the days of cell phones and the Internet, so it was only the word of our neighbor. My dad decided to drive over to see if it was true and to check on our friends who lived across the street from the school.
It was true. Not only was my grade school destroyed, only the gym remained standing, but the high school, a church and countless numbers of homes and business were flattened to mere rubble. Twenty-nine people lost their lives that day.
|The high school after the tornado- image from here.|
Yesterday while I was folding and putting away laundry, I found myself lost in memories of that day. Then I thought, what would I replace? What things in my home would I replace if we were to lose everything.
Clothes, furniture, my camera- these things popped in my mind first. But really, if I had my family, and they were safe and with me, that is what matters most. Things come and go, things get broken. Things don't bring true, lasting happiness.
I will admit, I like nice things, my husband works very hard to help provide my family with nice things. As I thought about what things I would replace I found myself looking at my things in an all new light. The fact that my bedroom furniture is mismatched, the walls need a touch up of paint, I need a new book shelf as the books are spilling off of it-- I suddenly stopped noticing those. I saw the new nightstands I just painted, the nice warm bed that I have to share with my husband. Suddenly the things I had seemed enough, were good even in their mismatched styles. They might not be the newest and Pinterest worthy, but they are mine and it is enough.
I can always be wanting for more, wishing for something new, something a little better or I can always be grateful for the things I have, grateful for what really matters most, my family and my faith. I can be content and filled with peace and gratitude. This is how I want to live.
To those suffering now, to those who have lost everything, I am praying for you. I am thinking of you. I will be filled with peace and gratitude to honor you and to help remember what matters most.