Monday, May 23, 2011

Stormy Weather

Confession: I'm not sure I worry enough at times.

Last Sunday my boys were in a tornado, and I was not there with them.

They were at a friend's birthday party when the tornado hit. I was upstairs on the second-floor of our house. My wife was driving home at the time. It was the first tornado I've heard--though I didn't go to the basement.

I'm not a reckless person. I wasn't trying to be "tough" through the storm and not seek shelter. I grew up on a farm where we watched the weather. When it was clearly threatening, we sought shelter. When I heard the whistle blow, I turned on the television to see what the news was saying and looked out the window. I didn't see much. But I heard it. It was remarkably close.

I confess I was more worried about my wife than my kids. She was in a car driving into it. The boys were with friends. I was trying to call her, but couldn't get through because the lines were busy. So I was mostly worried about her. She was finally able to get through to me and let me know that the boys were okay. Every tree on the block they were on was gone, but the houses were still standing. My wife had to park a few blocks away and climb over trees to get to them (I had to be at church because I was preaching--sometimes I get too "loyal" to my commitments).

A mother of another kid from the party shared after school the other day how she was having nightmares and he was having some PTSD-type symptoms. My boys haven't said much--other than it was fun to climb on the trees and roots afterward. But they went through something major. And I'm proud they handled it well (my almost-seven-year old said his first response was to pray--which I'm proud of him for doing). I'm feeling guilty because I didn't worry enough, I guess.

The boys and I went out the next to try and help with clean-up efforts in our neighborhood after the tornado. We weren't able to do much work since the boys were with me (I was hoping they could help move branches while I moved limbs, but because of liability issues as well as safety concerns with downed power lines, they wouldn't let us--which is understandable), but we were able to help run errands on the bicycle.

It wasn't quite their cup of tea. I don't know if manual labor would have ended up much better. After a while they were acting all tired and not able to do much more. It was a long, tiresome morning. But it was important to be a good example in showing the boys the importance of helping neighbors in need--even if we weren't able to do much. We're still processing the whole thing as the neighborhood slowly gets back to normal.

And they had been at a friend's birthday party when the tornado hit--right in the middle of it.

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