I wrote this blog last night while my brain was still mush from the crazy day. This morning I went back and added some things that really hit the heart of what I was feeling. I encourage you to read it again.:)
Yesterday morning I had some lovely friends over for a delightful (and peaceful) brunch on the deck.
This morning, I couldn’t even see the spot where we sat on the deck.
Because this was in the way:
Around 6 am, I was awoken by the sound of a terrible wind–the loudest, most violent wind I have ever heard.
Now, I come from the El Paso area where a 40 mile-per-hour wind is a light breeze…but this wind sounded like a vortex and it was accompanied by a laser light show of lightening. I rolled over to go back to sleep, hoping the wind would eventually die down but it just never did.
Suddenly, I heard what sounded like large hail hitting the house.
And then I heard God say, “Get downstairs now.”
Being half-asleep and half-terrified made me wobbly on my legs and I flew/hobbled to the staircase where I slid/tumbled down the stairs. Not wanting to make my way into the creepy cellar by myself (Dave was out of town on a fishing trip), I decided to run into the den and hide in the closet under the stairs.
Once in the den, I was greeted by this sight:
Eh?? was my first thought.
Is that a…tree on my deck?? was my second thought.
While I hid in the closet, I called a friend down the street to ask her what the hell was going on.
What the hell is going on?? I shouted.
It’s okay, we just had really bad wind. The weather channel is not reporting a tornado or anything, she informed me. The worst of it is over so try to go back to sleep.
Instead, I went out back to see why the hell a tree was in front of my bay window.
That’s when I spotted the tree on our house.
Now I was really tempted to freak out since I was by myself (Dave had his phone turned off!!) and without electricity. (I saw a transformer explode outside my living room window, though.) After finally getting a hold of Dave, I went to church.
Church may seem like a trivial place to be the morning after a ravaging storm, but I wanted to be in the company of loved ones more than sit alone in my dark house.
This is what was left of a 100-year-old tree that stood in front of my church. And I thought my trees were ruined. There were also sheets of metal siding hanging in the remaining branches of the surrounding trees.
After swapping stories with my friends, it seemed like more than just a bad wind hit our town. Apparently a micro-burst complete with 80 mph wind had hit Clyde. One friend said he saw his trampoline fly 30 feet in the air before crashing back down to the ground.
It sounds far fetched, I know, but I had a similar experience. Our patio table is now sitting in a crumpled mess on the other side of our 6′ security fence!
Despite all of the destruction, this story has a happy ending and it is this: I am alive and safe and life is going to be okay.
If only you knew how impossible it has seemed for me to be at peace with situations beyond my control. Ever since I was a child I feared that a tornado would come in the night to blow my house away. This fear was so strong that I kept a packed suitcase (filled with all my dearest possessions) in my closet at all times. Even when Dave and I signed for our house, I just knew it would eventually be taken from me by some terrible disaster.
I don’t talk about my relationship with God very much.
Mostly because I haven’t trusted or liked Him very much to want to lately. But I’m learning that my perceptions have built my reality of who God is.
And according to my perceptions, God’s a prick.
For instance, I truly believed that God would send a tornado to take away everything I owned in order to teach me patience and trust and that I could indeed survive a tragedy. I just knew He would leave me alone in the dark, scared and empty-handed.
And then this morning happened.
And I was alone.
And it was dark.
And I didn’t even have a shirt on my back. Or pants on my legs. (Which is why I am suffering from the rug burn I got while sliding down those stairs!)
But even though I was smack-dab in the middle of a situation I had no control over, I still had a choice. I had the choice to be calm or to get crazy afraid.
It is very much like me to choose crazy afraid…especially when I have a perfect reason to be crazy afraid!
For a fleeting moment I thought, “What’s going to happen to my house?!!” but that thought was quickly dismissed by the unexplainable assurance that God was going to take care of any and every need I would have. Suddenly, my possessions didn’t matter anymore.
Possessions have never NOT mattered to me, people. I’ve found grim comfort in freaking out over how perfect my walls look or what I will wear or what plates I should use for a dinner party.
I’m not saying I am completely void of concern for my hard-earned stuff.
What I am saying is that it is a powerful, life-changing thing to feel the hand of God around you when all this time you assumed the hand of God was against you.
Looking at the broken branches on my deck, I saw that even before I had a chance to be afraid, God’s hand was taking care of me. The strong winds were blowing from all different directions and the possibility of that large branch hitting my bedroom window (my bed sits right under that window) instead of the deck was very high.
Not only that, the impact of the large branch was enough to break several windows…but not one was scratched.
I was alive and so was everyone else in Clyde and that’s all that really mattered. Nevertheless, God protected my possessions, too.
He didn’t have to.
They don’t really matter.
But He still cares.
On a side note, I would not have minded losing that ugly shed in the back yard.
But it weren’t scratched none neither.