Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm back! And I hate tornadoes.

So, really?  The last time I posted anything was in 2011???  What have I been doing with the last two years?  Here we are on the verge of 2014 and I haven't had anything notable occur to me?  How sad is that?  OR, how AWESOME is that?  I have come to appreciate my relatively boring life.  There has been drama o'plenty in my vicinity, so I'm taking pride in my non-drama.

But, the reason for getting me off of the couch (where I was watching Pitch Perfect for the zillionth time.  Freaking LOVE that movie.  I will not be happy until I have attended a riff-off.) is on behalf of my sweet little hometown of Washington.

If you know me at all, you know that I'm from Washington.  I lived there for the first 18 years of my life and my parents and brother and sister in law live there still.  It's a sweet little town.  It's Mayberry, I'm telling you!  People are NICE!  People are FRIENDLY!  They go to church and bring you casseroles when you are sick.  Everyone goes to the same high school and everyone is a Panther.  It sounds idyllic, I get it, but it truly was an awesome place to grow up.  My memories are plentiful and happy.

But, on November 17, a tornado ripped out of the sky and tore my sweet town apart.  I went home this past weekend to see the devastation for myself in order for it to really become real.  And real, it is.  Very real.  Driving through town, on a street that I've driven on for my entire life, the destruction is obvious.  The golf course is ripped apart, houses that lined the street are MISSING.  There was a trampoline wrapped around a light post and a car bent in half.  I've never seen anything like it and I wish that I hadn't had to see it at all.  And, amongst the rubble, there was my brother's house.  A brick house with 4 walls still standing, but nothing else to identify it as the home and he and his new wife shared.  Furniture was blown into the yard and neighbor's clothing was strewn about the yard.

So, I took this trip to the midwest to see how I could help and to check on my loved ones.  But, what I encountered was profound.  I talked to a lot of people.  I saw a lot of devastation.  But, exactly ZERO people were negative about the tornado.  All I kept hearing was, "It's ok!  We'll rebuild."  This sentiment was echoed over and over.  It was even spray painted on the shells that used to be homes.  "We're OK!"

So, I need to let that one sink in a bit.  Why on earth would I complain about ANYTHING?  Honestly.  I'm OK.  I'm better than OK.  My life is good.  I have a good home and a good family and good friends.  Why would I ever think that I need anything other than those things?  So many people lost all of their possessions.  But NOBODY lost everything.  Everyone had hope.  Everyone had community pride and determination.  And, to be honest, that's a lot.

Don't get me wrong.  If my house was destroyed, it would be really hard to see the silver lining.  I can't be so brazen as to put myself in their places.  I'm sure that they have moments of feeling defeated and lost and alone.  But, outwardly, they are heroic.  To look at their piles of rubble and see what was and what will be again.  That's pretty freaking amazing.  I can only pray for these people to have the strength to see it through.  I can only pray that my own children will see what true community pride looks like and what a real home is.  Our home is not the 4 brick walls that surround us, but the love and spirit that is within us.

I know that Washington will be ok.  I know it more now than ever.  It's a mess, that's for sure.  But, the mess is temporary.  The heart of the city will beat on and it will take more than a tornado to stop it.