Sunday, February 28, 2016

Surviving the Storm

Deadly storms were predicted last Tuesday. Classes were cancelled; businesses closed. I watched hypnotically as deep-hued sweeps advanced across the screen. I succumbed to the sleep-inducing drone of the local weatherman, startled awake by an auditory swarm of tornado warnings from my phone, home security system and television. My town was spared this time. In areas not too far away, roofs were torn off, trailer homes were destroyed and people lost their lives.

The more severe storms hit Friday when not a cloud marred the sky, when radar showed no blip and stations did not call a weather alert action day. My one hundred iPhone apps failed to warn me of the tornados of grief that would descend to strip me of “I’m doing well, thank you.”

In the stillness of the calm before the storm, I—who thought I’d grown accustomed to the missing—did not see the funnels forming nor hear the haunting sounds of an oncoming train. My failure to brace myself may have been due to the ordinariness of the events.

The first tornado hit during a video shoot, when the storyteller mentioned George by name, grateful for making a local school a great place for kids. The second hit when I opened the mail to discover his efforts for a client had succeeded, in part because of his drawings, which were attached—done in the handwriting I have come to know so well. The third hit during a concert performed by a choral group in which he once sang.

No photojournalists were on hand to capture the rubble of tears and mascara that littered my contorted face on that stormy day. No seismograph measured the intensity of the tremors that shook my foundations. No storm chasers gathered to pick through my shattered composure.

I think it was bound to happen. Maybe it shouldn’t have taken so long, but I think I was a little stronger than I would have been in previous months, a little more able to absorb the pain but lift my head again. In this is love—in the timing of a heavenly Father who shelters us in the greenhouse of his care until we are ready to be planted on the windy slopes.