I cannot say anything that will change the devastation and loss. I can, however, pray for those affected by the devastation and loss. I hope you will too.
The school children in particular have had such an impact on me. I just can’t look at the pictures or watch the news.
I’m remembering this story as if it were yesterday. I’m crying and right now I just wish my mom was still here – she would understand.
In 1965, on Palm Sunday, tornadoes roared through the area I lived in. We were at a special evening church service (my mom, dad and me) when firemen showed up and told us all to head to the basement. On our way to the basement, I was able to see out the front doors. The sky looked funny. Of course, I had no idea what was going on. It was so LOUD! It wasn’t like thunder, it was like thunder on steroids with winds swirling.
We waited out the storm in the church basement. But before I knew what was happening, my parents had whisked me away with them and deposited me in the waiting room at our tiny hospital. You need to know, my parents are awesome people who are always willing to do what is needed. My dad had been a driver for a funeral home when he was in college and my mom was a Red Cross volunteer. They were looking for people…anybody with any skill set…that could volunteer. So, dad took off helping to drive people into the hospital and mom volunteered doing whatever she could. But, what to do with me? At the time, it seemed that I could read and stay out of the way in the waiting room. I was only 7 years old.
The waiting room quickly became emergency room overflow. There were people coming in with 2×4’s run through them. I saw a man laying there bleeding badly. There were children without limbs. I have never been so frightened and felt so alone.
It seemed like I was there for days and days, although in reality it was probably only an hour or two. But it was enough to terrify me. I saw firsthand what a tornado can do. Don’t blame my parents…their hearts were in the right place. And I seriously doubt they had any idea it would be that traumatic.
We lived in a very Amish community. I worried about my school friends. We drove through the countryside taking pictures of the twisted ruins of homes, churches, barns. Dead animals littered the fields. I haven’t looked at those pictures one single time. They are imprinted in my memory.
It has been over 40 years, and I am still terrified of winds. I’m the first to head to the basement if there is any possibility.
So, yes, I think I understand a little bit what those children must be going through. My experience was nothing compared to theirs though.
I can’t look at the pictures and I won’t watch the news. But I will pray. I will pray for them to feel some comfort. I will pray that their memories fade. I will pray for those responding to help. I will pray as they clean up the devastation. I will pray for the families who lost someone. I will pray for the survivors.
Won’t you join me in prayer?