Words to live by:

"With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"I will Lord"...I promise. A story of devastation...

Well...I never knew I would write a note to you, my friends such as this...
Lost lives.
Lost homes.

All day onWednesday, me, my children, and a few friends watched the storms unfold
in front of our eyes.
We watched from the comfort of a recliner and sofa in front of a television...I almost feelguilty of that now as I write this.
yes, we were scared.
yes, we watched in total disbelief.
yes, we prayed.
no, there are some things we simply don't...won't...understand.

We watched intently, as this killer ripped apart Cullman, Alabama. I noticed the look on the faces of the weathermen as they saw the digital numbers on the screen...i could tell they were fearful...i could tell that they simply couldn't say just how bad they thought it really was...
but it was in their eyes.
As we watchedit destroy this small town, we seriously didn't know if anyone survived by the looks of what we saw "live" on the screen in front of us.
Unbelievable...we were struck with silence.
Then we watched as another Killer, this one even bigger than the first, DEVASTATED
Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
As I watched this tornado, demolish everything in its path, all I could bring to my lips, was
Oh My Lord.....
Oh Dear Lord...
God Bless them.

I couldn't believe my eyes...
It was happening to "US"...not "THEM"...
It was on the screen in front of us...it was on the ground for so long, ripping buildings apart like they were plastic toys.  We watched as buildings were sucked up into the debris ball and thrown around like rag dolls.
My stomach churned...i felt sick.
People I knew, and loved, lived in those places.
Are they ok???
I needed to hear from them. Devin, Brett, Matt, April...the names were coming to my mind...
The world of text...I heard from them all.
Thank you Lord.
And then my heart sank, for I knew many were not ok...

The KILLER tornado continued it's path through the state of Alabama, never letting up...it was coming EAST. I felt another wave of guilt as I didn't want it to come to us.I felt so guilty, knowing what so many others had already expereinced and lost...

Then, 2 hours later...we heard the dreaded news.
It was coming through our town...I heard the words:
Alexandria, Saks, Anniston, Ohatchee...
this was us.
This killer had been on the ground for 2 hours...devastating everything that even came close to it's claws.
Lord keep us safe.
I wonder how many others were uttering the same exact words...

We waited...it came...
It went by...
and we were spared.
We went to bed...in our own beds...no electricity but who cared...me and my kids (and our dog) climbed into bed...together.
Thank you Lord.
I wonder how many others were uttering the same exact words...

We woke up today...our power restored...the sun was shining.
All is good.
Is it???
I began to listen to the news...internet...and there it was...devastation.
Up the road about 4 miles.
People were lost, houses were lost, lives changed forever, lives even lost...forever.
I need to help!
I can't sit back in my air-conditioned office and just go on like nothing happened...
Me and 2 other friends set out to help...in any way we could...
just help.

We climbeb into the car and headed out...we didn't know what we were going to do...we didn't know where we were going...we didn't know what we were about to see...
We pulled up to the hardest hit neighborhood.

As we approached, our mouths were opened and our hearts were broken.
It was all the things you've heard before...
trees snapped in a million pieces that looked like matches.
limbs thrown through house walls like spears.
remnants of lives scattered.
Metal building walls twisted around trees like they were molten plastic.

People standing in their yards...just standing...staring...not moving.
Oh dear Lord, help these people!
I wonder how many people were uttering the same words...

We stopped at the first house...we asked if we could help.
There was nothing we could do...it was gone.
The next house...we asked if we could help.
The home owner tried to be kind...but with a half cocked grin, said no thanks...as he pulled a twisted memory out from under a heap of lost memories.
The next house...we asked if we could help.
They said, if you want...
We were told that the home owners had no family in town...they were elderly and in the hospital.
This house had a kitchen...and that was all.

I do believe that the walls left standing were being held up by the rubbish around them.
The elderly couple that lived there was in the hospital...
she was injured but not extremely bad--- considering...
her husband, was sucked out of the back of the house...
The wife had requested that we find her "grey cat"..."She was in the bathroom with me..." she said from her hospital bed...
We just stood there, looking at a home...
We started moving shredded lumber, broken glass, walls, limbs, metal shards...sifting through the mounds to find anything that could be salvaged.

These people hadn't even seen what was left of their home yet...their life.
I stood staring,---
and from behind my back, as I stood on the phone trying to explain the devastation, my friend handed me the first item she receovered...
the family Bible. It was ironically RED.
My heart felt like it would rip out of my chest. Tears flooded down my cheeks...I wanted to fall to my knees.
but there was work to be done.
I gathered myself together and began the task at hand...
We began to uncover years and years of lifetime treasures.

We made small piles of memories of years gone by.
I didn't know these people...but I soon learned so much about them.
SHe loved Christmas...there were so many remnants of Christmas decorations, and under a heap of torn to shreds items...was a fragile Christmas ornament, a fragile red Christmas lightbuld...untouched...saved.
We found several unscathed Christmas items...we put them into a trunk that somehow survived...I found out that this lady also loved glassware, old bottles, knick-knacks...I found the top of the china cabinet, just the top, that these items no doubt lived in...until now.

He loved and collected model cars...he was a war veteran...he served our country and now we served him.
We found mementos from the many places they had traveled to through the years...
We picked up eye glasses, perfume bottles, one new tennis shoe, scattered jewelry, old photographs,  a  t.v. remote control....(My mind wondered if they were watching the same news as I was, flipping the channels, watching as the state of Alabama was devastated...this remote was buried underneath the cushion of a blue leather sofa)

The cat---!!!!
in the bathroom!!!!
I remembered, the cat...I looked for the cat...
There was no bathroom.
No cat.
We walked through the backyard.
I pulled  a dress that resembled a wedding dress out of a tree.
We found old war medals...a war footlocker...the other new tennis shoe.
As we stood looking over the hill into the midst of twisted trees...i felt like those trees were full of evil...
I'm sorry, but that's what I felt.
I looked at the dark brown streamers glistening throughout the branches of so many of the trees and realized that it was old movie film...no doubt home movies of a lifetime of memories.

And then twisted into and around another tree, was carpet from the floor of the house...in shreds, like someone had taken a knife and shredded it.
I stood on the side of that hill, looking over at the wrath of God...and began to weep.

I didn't feel worthy...
I was standing on two feet...breathing, healthy, talking on my cell phone neatly tucked inside my pants pocket...
I cried...my heart was weak with weariness.
Lives torn apart like the trees I stared at...
I, and many others were spared---for some reason.

We walked back to the "house"...where is stood...yesterday.
We worked for several hours and recovered a few boxes of a lifetime of hard work, a family, a soldier, a mother, a wife, a husband...
It wasn't much...but it's what we did.

One more thing: while cleaning through the rubble...a phone rang...from the pocket of some pants.
It was a cell phone...their cell phone.
It was their son, a truck driver.
He was calling to check on his parents.
To see how they made it through the storm....
he didnt know...
He was told...
He would make it home tomorrow...he was driving...for another day.
He asked, how his home was that was beside the home we stood in...
There was nothing there.
It was gone.
He asked where he would sleep when he got home...
Dear Lord...

It was time to go...to turn my back on this home, and go to my house...that was still there.

I walked away in anguish...I walked over a brass doorknob,  obviously ripped from a door that was nowhere to be found.

I walked past the cars smahed in the driveway. I walked past the crumbled wheelchair.
I stared at the ground.
I thought of a reason I might have been spared...
I had to make a difference.
God needs me...to share His story...to reach those who do not know Him...to just reach---out.
I will Lord...I promise.
Every day.

There have been over 300 deaths reported so far...within the last 24 hours...there are still many missing.

We got in the car...pulled off our gloves...
We drove away.
I stared out the window...saying over and over...it's terrible, it's terrible, it's terrible.
God Bless Them...
This is awful...
Dear Lord...
Oh my Lord...
My body felt weak...my heart was heavy...

I will Lord...
I promise.

These are my weary thoughts,


  1. I don't think it could have been better described. It really is surreal.

  2. Shane: It has been a trying 3 days...my heart is hurting. ANd I've done what I can, I've helped, I've prayed...and I will continue.
    But the many people that homes were ripped apart, lives that were lost,...they will forever be changed. For that, I am so sorry for them.
    ANd indeed, I am thankful.